Web sales are up significantly year over year as the widespread coronavirus still keeps many shoppers at home and away from physical stores. However, online spending is tapering, according to new research from Adobe Analytics.
While total U.S. online sales reached $73.2 billion in June year over year, up 76.2% compared with $41.5 billion a year earlier, online spending is down 11.3% from May’s $82.5 million, Adobe Analytics reports. (Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.)
Online grocery sales fall as stores begin reopening
Daily online grocery sales fell 18% in June compared with May as consumers returned to bricks-and-mortar stores in reopened states, Adobe says. Another reason for the decline is grocery cart sizes shrinking as consumers slow stockpiling. Grocery cart sizes increased abruptly by 33% month over month in mid-February but have since trended down as consumers settle into sheltering in place, online grocery prices rise, and physical stores begin to reopen, Adobe says. Online grocery prices increased 4.2% over the past 6 months, Adobe says. In June, web grocery prices crept up slightly from May levels, rising .05%.
Daily online apparel sales fell 15% in June compared with May, Adobe says. Additionally, after many months of apparel price decreases, online apparel prices increased 2.7% in June compared with May and 4.3% year over year in June. In the first half of the year, e-retailers offered heavy discounts to move inventory and increase demand, Adobe says. Now, retailers are slowly raising prices to improve their margins—particularly on new arrivals.
Adobe Analytics data is based on online sales data from more than one trillion anonymous visits to retail sites and more than 100 million SKUs from 80 of the top 100 retailers in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Adobe collects data on 18 product categories including apparel, electronics, home, grocery, appliance, personal care, office supplies, books, jewelry, furniture and toys, among others. Adobe’s data is also derived from several government bodies and industry trade organizations, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Order online, pick up in store has record year-over-year growth
Consumer electronics sales increased 5% month over month in June. And online computer prices specifically are continuing to rise, Adobe says. As consumers continue to work from home and more students than ever are studying from home, demand is up, resulting in computer prices increasing by 6.2% since March. Prior to March, computer prices had been continually declining over the past 6 years. The sudden increase over the last 3 months has erased nearly all of the price decreases that occurred since June 2019 leaving year-over-year computer price inflation at just under 1%.
While buy online pick up in store continued to maintain record year-over-year growth of 130% in June, the pace of growth is slowing as retailers reopen physical stores nationwide, Adobe says. In June, sales via that shopping channel fell 21% compared with May.
What consumers are buying in lock-down
Consumers also aren’t able to stretch their online dollars quite as far as they could a year ago, Adobe finds. The digital purchasing power of consumers is -0.1% year over year in June. That means online goods that would have cost $1.00 in June 2019 now cost $1.01
“As online apparel prices start to increase and inflation continues to occur across categories, digital purchasing power turned negative,” says Vivek Pandya, digital insights manager at Adobe. “Although just a slight dip, consumers are essentially now paying more for the online shopping basket they purchased a year ago. With physical stores reopening and slightly higher prices online, retailers will need to offer exceptional online customer experiences to attract and retain customers.”
Other research from local brand management company Chatmeter finds that visits to retail websites fell 6.5% month over month as of June 1 after increasing 69.3% for April and growing 80.4% in May. And, another recent survey finds small businesses without a pre-existing ecommerce presence were twice as likely (31% vs. 15%) to have temporarily stopped operating during the COVID-19 crisis. The survey was conducted May 6-18 and released by the Connected Commerce Council and Google Inc. The Connected Commerce Council aims to help small businesses gain access to digital technology and tools.
Additional new research suggests stuck-at-home consumers who can’t frequent their local gyms are looking to tone up at home instead. Sales of dumbbells on eBay.com increased by 1,980% in March and April compared with a year earlier, according to eBay sales data. Other fitness products experiencing more than 500% sales growth on eBay in March and April include kettlebells (1,000%), pull up bars (640%) and weight benches (530%).