Ecommerce prices decreased for the eighth consecutive month in April, per Adobe’s Digital Price Index. Online prices overall were down 1.8% year over year, and down 0.7% compared with March.
Adobe produced the report based on 100 million SKUs across 18 retail categories including groceries, personal care, and appliances.
The biggest price declines
11 of the 18 categories monitored by Adobe recorded lower prices in April 2023 than in the previous April. The largest year-over-year decline was flowers and gifts, with prices down 27%.
Electronics and computers saw significant declines in April, Adobe found. Electronics decreased 11.6% year over year, and computers decreased 15.4% over the same period. Both saw slight increases month over month of 0.5% and 1.9%, respectively.
The appliance category also drove the price decline, Adobe said, with prices down 7.1% year over. That was the largest annual decline for the category since Adobe started tracking them in 2014. Appliances prices were down 2.1% month over month, marking the seventh month of price drops following 29 consecutive months of price increases beginning in May 2020.
Sporting goods, toys, and home and garden were all also down year over year. Sporting goods marked a 12th consecutive month of year-over-year price declines. Before that, prices increased for 28 months beginning in January 2020. Prices peaked in September 2020 as consumers invested in home exercise equipment during the pandemic.
Grocery price increases slowed
Online grocery prices increased 9.3% year over year in April, more than every category except pet products (11.32%). Though prices were up, the growth rate decreased for seven consecutive months. Online grocery prices increased 10.3% year over year in March, and 11.4% in February. Growth peaked in September 2022 at 14.3% year over year.
Grocery ecommerce sales grew 10.8% in 2022 over 2021, according to a previous Adobe report. With prices steadily increasing, more consumers turned to buy-now-pay-later services to purchase groceries, with usage up 40% in 2022.
“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 March press release.
Ecommerce prices diverge from overall retail
Adobe says it uses the same general methodology that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to track prices in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The agency hasn’t released its April numbers yet, but in recent months the CPI has diverged from Adobe’s Digital Price Index. In March 2023, ecommerce prices decreased 1.7% per Adobe, while the CPI grew 5%. In February, Adobe recorded a 1.4% decrease, and the CPI grew 6%. Both measured year-over-year price changes.
Ecommerce prices have largely risen more slowly than retail prices as a whole, or even decreased. Online groceries are an exception to this, and generally move in step with the CPI, Adobe says.
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