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Holiday Consumer Spending Rose – but So Did Prices

Holiday shopping
Holiday Consumer Spending Rose - but So Did Prices

Holiday consumer spending was up 8.6% over the 2021 season compared to the same period in 2020 – however, online prices in December were 3.1% higher compared to December of 2020, according to Adobe researchers.

Adobe is out with two interesting reports today, one focused on holiday spending and one on inflation.

Adobe’s final online shopping figures for the holiday season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31) reveals that consumers spent a total of $204.5 billion over the 2021 holiday season, up 8.6% year-over-year (YoY).

A record 38 days surpassed $3 billion in daily spend (25 days in 2020 by comparison), as consumers spread out their shopping outside of big days like Cyber Monday and began earlier.

The weeks before Thanksgiving (Nov. 1 to Nov. 24) grew 19.2% YoY, while Cyber Week (5 days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday) was down 1.4% YoY. The weeks following (Nov. 30 to Dec. 31) grew 5.6% YoY.

Some highlights of the Adobe Digital Economy Index (based on analysis of over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and over 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories) include the following:

More Items Out of Stock
During the holiday season, consumers saw over 6 billion out-of-stock messages online. This represents a 253% increase over the 2019 holiday season (prior to the pandemic) and a 10% increase YoY.

Weaker Discounts
Discounts for the full season were weaker across major categories tracked by Adobe.

Slight Increase in Mobile Shopping
Over the holiday season, 43% of online sales came via smartphones, coming in at $88 billion overall. It is a modest increase from 2020 (at 40%), as consumers still rely on desktop and laptop computers as the primary way to shop online.

Inflation Data

Adobe also announced the latest online inflation data from the Adobe Digital Price Index (DPI). In December 2021, online prices increased 3.1% YoY and 0.8% month-over-month (MoM).

Meanwhile, consumer spending online for all of 2021 reached a record $855 billion, an increase of 9% YoY, attesting to the strength of the digital economy overall.

December’s price increases marked the 19th consecutive month of YoY online inflation and followed the record high of November 2021, when online prices increased 3.5% YoY. In December, groceries and apparel were standout categories, with grocery prices seeing their highest annual increase in more than a year (4.9% YoY, 0.7% MoM). Apparel increased 16.6% YoY (0.6% MoM).

You can find more information including inflation data by category on the Adobe website.

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Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.