Grocery and furniture categories saw the biggest increases in ecommerce sales while electronics and apparel lagged.

Adobe just revealed online shopping trends from 2022, including growth of groceries and furniture; an increase in consumers using buy now, pay later (BNPL); and a drop in curbside pickup.

The analytics firm used data based on more than 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail websites, 100 million different products, and 18 categories.

Grocery ecommerce continues to grow

Adobe identified strong growth in the grocery and home furnishing categories. 

Ecommerce grocery spending grew 10.8% in 2022 over spending in 2021, Adobe found, leading to $86.8 billion in consumer spending. Grocery sales have been shifting online since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Some consumers continued to buy groceries online even as stores reopened and many businesses resumed normal operations.

In an October 2022 survey of 1,000 online shoppers, 45% told Digital Commerce 360 that they’d ordered groceries online at some point. Just under one-third of online shoppers (29%) said they ordered groceries online routinely or occasionally, and another 16% tried for the first time during the pandemic.


The Kroger Co., one of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. and No. 8 on Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the Top 1000 North American ecommerce retailers, recently reported growing online sales. Digital purchases were up 12% year over year in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, 2023.

“Despite the easing of pandemic-related shopping behaviors that led to a significant increase in online shopping, more and more customers are incorporating ecommerce into their daily permanent routine,” CEO Rodney McMullen told investors.

Growing expenses made BNPL more attractive

More consumers turned to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services in 2022 than in previous years, according to Adobe’s data. Online purchases made with BNPL were up 14% in 2022 over 2021, and revenue from BNPL purchases grew 27% year over year. Adobe did not share the total portion of online orders that use BNPL.

BNPL trends are shifting in 2023 so far, according to early data. In January and February 2023, BNPL use increased 10% year over year, while revenue decreased 19% over the same period. This shows that shoppers are using payment plans to fund lower-priced purchases, possibly as a result of inflation.


Groceries and furniture drive BNPL growth

BNPL to purchase groceries saw the biggest increase of any category examined by Adobe in the first two months of 2023, up 40% over 2022. This is also likely part of the trend of using BNPL services to purchase lower-priced items.

“The rise of buy-now-pay-later usage for groceries tells us that consumers are likely making bigger purchases online to take advantage of special promotions and stock up on staples, thus managing living expenses in more flexible ways,” Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya said in a press release.

Furniture sales were the other main area where consumers used BNPL more so far in 2023 than in 2022. BNPL furniture purchases were up 38% in the first two months of the year.

“The strong online growth of home furnishing purchasing is expected to bolster buy-now-pay-later adoption, given the higher ticket prices in this category,” Pandya said.


Over the same period, BNPL grew more slowly or declined in other categories. BNPL use in apparel purchases grew 8%, and use for electronics fell 14%.

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