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Adobe: Consumers spent $368.8 billion online in first half of 2020

Ecommerce shopper

The shift to online shopping that began in March drove record sales for the first half of the year.

That’s according to a new report from Adobe, which found that compared to pre-pandemic sales for the period starting March 1, online transactions were $77 billion higher than expected, with ecommerce levels tracking higher than holiday shopping levels (November and December). The first six months of 2020 have driven $368.8 billion in online spend.

Online shopping continued to surge in June, according to Adobe, generating a record $73.2 billion in total spend, up 76.2% over last year. However, online grocery and apparel daily sales declined 18% and 15% respectively in June versus May as consumers returned to brick-and-mortar stores in reopened states.

The report also revealed a rise in prices for clothing and food.  After months of significant price decreases, online apparel prices were up 2.7% month-over-month and 4.3% year-over-year in June.   

 “Retailers are slowly raising prices to improve their margins, on their latest offerings, and to better capitalize on the online apparel landscape that has become a much more significant marketplace for transacting,” Adobe stated.

Online grocery prices have increased 4.2% during the past six months. In June, grocery prices crept up slightly, .05%, from May levels.   

According to Adobe, inflation has driven digital purchasing power (DPP) into negative territory for the first time ever, "which means consumers can now purchase goods online for $1.01 that would have cost $1.00 in June 2.

“Although  just a slight dip of -1%, consumers are essentially now paying more for the online shopping basket they purchased a year ago,” said Vivek Pandya, digital insights manager, Adobe. “With physical stores reopening and slightly higher prices online, retailers will need to offer exceptional online customer experiences to attract and retain customers.” 

Here are other findings from the report. 

*Grocery cart sizes shrink as consumers slow stockpiling: Grocery cart sizes increased abruptly by 33% in mid-February but have since trended down as consumers settle into sheltering in place, online grocery prices rise and physical stores begin to reopen.

*BOPIS growth slowing: While BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) continued to maintain record growth of 130% in June, the pace of growth is slowing as retailers reopen physical stores nationwide. In June, BOPIS experienced 21% decrease in usage over May.

*New customers drove initial surge in spending, loyal customers are the future: Early on in the lockdown, retailers experienced increased spend from new and returning customers (who had only purchased once previously) as consumers turned to online channels to purchase products. However, good online experiences paid off in June, when new customer growth slowed while loyal customers’ spend persisted.


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