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Adobe: May online sales growth surpassed 2019 holiday season

E-commerce growth jumped in May. 

Retail sales surged above holiday levels in May, jumping 77.8% year-over-year to $82.5 billion in total online spending, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. (By comparison, online retail sales grew 13.2% year-over-year last November and December.) Although growth has plateaued, it remains significantly higher than expected levels for 2020.

Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, which analyzes, over one trillion online transactions across 100 million product SKU, found that consumers in different states reacted differently in the e-commerce space as the states experienced different levels of COVID-19 spread and different levels of lockdowns.  The states with the highest lift in online May sales were Connecticut, New Mexico, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Predominantly rural and/or early opening states including Vermont, Iowa, Wyoming, and Florida showed the lowest increases. 

Here are other findings from the Adobe report.

•    While BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) continued to maintain record growth of 195% in May, there are signs that the pace in growth is slowing as stores begin to reopen nationwide. 

According to an Adobe survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted June 1-3, 2020, 23% of online consumers prefer using buy online, pick-up in-store or curbside over delivery. Adobe expects BOPIS to continue to gain traction even after stores re-open nationwide.  

•    Consumer electronics and apparel purchases were up 11% and 12% respectively in May over April as shoppers searched for much-needed items to assist with working from home realities or took advantage of deep discounting. 

Online grocery daily sales declined 14% as consumers returned to brick-and-mortar stores in reopened states or curtailed the early stockpiling experienced at the beginning of the pandemic. 

•    Grocery prices increased 4% year-over-year in May, and 1.3% over April. According to the Adobe survey, nearly half (44%) of consumers purchased groceries online since March. Among those who purchased groceries online, two thirds (63%) had purchased them before March.

•    Survey results show that when restaurants re-open, 40% say they’re likely to dine in an establishment if they have social distancing measures, with 35% of respondents stating they were unlikely to do so. 43% of older generations say they are likely to dine in this scenario. 

Only 26% are likely (51% unlikely) to dine at re-opened restaurants if they operate at normal capacity, while 51% of respondents said they were unlikely. Younger generations (32%) and males (30%) are more likely to dine in this scenario.  

•    Bookings of domestic flights nationwide have tripled between April 1-7 and May 25-31, with prices down 28%. Southern states are bouncing back fastest, with flights to and from the region booked at a higher volume than any other region as many of the states in this area were opening early. 

During the period when shelter-in-place measures were enacted, flight booking windows doubled as travelers lost confidence in their ability to take flights and go on holidays. In May, the flight booking window (the period between when a flight is booked and when it is taken) returned closer to the usual 45-50 day range, suggesting travelers are starting to feel confident their flight and holiday requests will be fulfilled.

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