Friday Dec 09, 2022

Online Inflation Is Easing with Major Differences by Category – EcommerceBytes


Adobe released data on Thursday showing online prices increased 2% in May year-over-year. That compares to April’s 2.9% increase and March’s record 3.6% increase. But Adobe found significant differences category by category.

Online prices for groceries have not eased, rising 11.7% in May year-over-year (and up 1.3% month-over-month). That follows a 10.3% YoY increase in April, a 9% YoY increase in March and a 7.6% YoY increase in February.

Adobe said the May rise was a record year-over-year high for the grocery category, and the first month where prices for groceries had risen the most of any category, overtaking apparel.

“Groceries remains the only category to move in lockstep with the CPI on a long-term basis, with online prices rising now for 28 consecutive months,” Adobe found. (The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Note that year-over-year (YoY) is a way to look at data taking into account seasonal differences in growth rates, but month-over-month (MoM) data is helpful as well.

Adobe said that while May data marks two full years of inflation online YoY, May is also the second month where online price increases have slowed.

For the month of May, 12 of the 18 categories tracked by the Adobe Digital Price Index saw YoY price increases, with groceries rising the most. Price drops were observed in six categories: electronics, jewelry, books, toys, computers and sporting goods.

Some category data that stands out besides grocery:

  • Prices for electronics and apparel, major categories that made up 33% of ecommerce spend in 2021, have continued to draw down.
  • Electronics prices were down 6.5% YoY (down 1.4% MoM), a greater decrease than April (down 5.2% YoY), and a record YoY low for the category over the last 24 months.
  • Prices for Apparel were up 9% YoY (down 1.5% MoM). While the category has now seen 14 months of online inflation, reversing a predictable pattern of heavy discounting periods, there are continued signs that prices are beginning to ease; prices increased 12.3% YoY in April, 16.3% YoY in March and 16.7% YoY in February.
  • Toys were down 6.5% YoY (down 1.3% MoM), a record low for the category over the last 24 months.

The Adobe Digital Price Index provides a comprehensive view into how much consumers pay for goods online. “Powered by Adobe Analytics, it analyzes one trillion visits to retail sites and over 100 million SKUs across 18 product categories: electronics, apparel, appliances, books, toys, computers, groceries, furniture/bedding, tools/home improvement, home/garden, pet products, jewelry, medical equipment/supplies, sporting goods, personal care products, flowers/related gifts, non-prescription drug and office supplies.”

You can find the full announcement along with tables highlighting the data on the Adobe website.

Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She’s a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of “Turn eBay Data Into Dollars” (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, “Blogging Heroes” (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 – present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 – present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to [email protected] See disclosure at


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