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Adobe: E-commerce is changing, not just because of COVID-19

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Digital shopping and purchasing power were on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, the digital purchasing power of consumers is up 3% year-over-year and has increased 20% since 2014, with $1 buying online today what it would have taken $1.20 to buy in 2014. Over that same time, $1 spent buying a similar set of goods offline lost value, with $1 in 2020 buying what would have only cost 88 cents in 2014. 

However, Adobe expects that as more of people’s lives move online, the offline and online economies will continue to converge and so will their prices. In addition, some product categories have taken a bigger share of the digital basket in recent years while others have fallen off. 

For example, the grocery category has increased its share of the basket from 6% to 8% in three years. Apparel retailers made the pivot to digital early and have seen their share of total online transactions increase from 21% to 23% over the last five years. Conversely, computers have decreased from 21% to 8% in the wake of the mobile computing boom.

COVID-19 has had a measurable impact on digital shopping behavior for a number of specific products and categories. Between Jan. 1 and March 11, 2020, purchases of several products have seen a significant jump in sales, including 807% for hand sanitizers, gloves, masks and anti-bacterial sprays; 217% for over-the-counter drug purchases (cold, flu and pain relievers); 231% for toilet paper; and 87% for canned goods and shelf-stable items. 

Additionally, with many U.S. consumers confined to their homes starting in March, orders for fitness equipment (kettlebells, dumbbells, stationary bikes and treadmills) and computers (desktops and laptops) have seen 55% and 40% boosts in online sales during the month, respectively. The online grocery shopping category overall has seen a 100% increase in daily online sales from March 13-15, while BOPIS has seen a surge with a 62% year-over-year increase between February 24 and March 21.

The Adobe Digital Economy Index analyzes trillions of online transactions with Adobe Analytics across 100 million product SKUs in 18 product categories.

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