Inflationary Pricing Online Continues to Slow, According to Adobe

Prices for goods online continued to slow in May, according to new data from Adobe released on Thursday.

In May 2022, online prices increased 2% year-over-year, down from 2.9% in April and the record 3.6% increase in March, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index (DPI).

While this month marks two full years of inflation online, May is the second month where online price increases have slowed, Adobe said. The majority of categories tracked by the DPI (10 out of 18) saw month-over-month price decreases in May.

Prices for electronics and apparel — major categories that made up 33% of the e-commerce spend in 2021 — have continued to draw down, Adobe reported. Prices for apparel, specifically, increased 9% year-over-year, but were down from the 12.3% increase seen in April.

There is still no relief for food and other household essentials, however. According to Adobe, online grocery prices have not eased, rising 11.7% year-over-year — a record increase for the category. This is the first month where prices for groceries have risen the most of any category, overtaking apparel.

In May, consumers spent $78.8 billion online, which represents 7.1% growth year-over-year, Adobe said. It is over $1 billion more than the month prior, when consumers spent $77.8 billion online, and below the $83.1 billion that was spent in March. According to Adobe, in 2022 so far, consumers have spent a total of $377.6 billion online, growing 8.9% year-over-year.

“Despite the modest increase in consumer spending online, an uncertain economic climate and rising costs in core areas like groceries are putting a damper on overall demand,” Patrick Brown, VP of growth marketing and insights at Adobe, said in a statement. “Slower consumer spending on discretionary items has driven slower, single digit e-commerce growth since March, and this pullback mirrors the easing in online inflation.”

Adobe’s data echoes the numbers the Bureau of Labor Statistics released for April last month. The bureau said that while consumer prices rose by 8.4% in April, this number was down from the 8.5% growth in March, which represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in December 1981.

Within footwear, prices grew 4.7% in April compared to last year, according to data from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). This marks the slowest growth in the last nine months, trailing behind March’s 6.6% increase and February’s 7% increase. However, prices are still rising at faster rates than usual.

Men’s footwear was up 2.5%, women’s was up 6.4% and kids’ was up 5%. Footwear prices are up 6.1% year-to-date compared with the first four months of 2021.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ pricing data for May is expected to be released on Friday.

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