Consumers so far this holiday season have spent roughly the same online as they did at this time last year, despite concerns that higher prices might crimp demand, Adobe Inc. reported Thursday.
Shoppers spent $72.2 billion online in October, up 10.9% from September and only slightly down from the $72.4 billion spent in October of last year, Adobe
revealed Thursday in its first report on this year’s holiday shopping season. The report arrived the same day that government data showed decades-high inflation seen this year could be easing.
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“Despite inflationary pressures and the rising cost of borrowing, there was not a material decline this year in early holiday shopping,” Taylor Schreiner, senior director of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a statement. “With over $72 billion spent online in October, e-commerce demand has shown itself to be durable and resilient, in spite of a challenging macroeconomic environment.”
Shoppers, Adobe said, had been “enticed” by bargains for electronics and toys, where markdowns have been as steep as 17% and 15%, respectively. Adobe said computers sold online were being sold at 10% discounts, with single-digit discounts in TVs, athletic gear and furniture.
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Analysts have said that holiday discounts were likely to be abundant this year, as retailers try to thin out stockpiles of unwanted clothing, TVs and offseason goods, following supply-chain issues and a consumer shift to spending on essentials that have gotten more expensive. But others have said that even with a flood of holiday deals, the out-the-door price that customers end up paying this year could be higher than in prepandemic holiday seasons due to the surge in prices overall.
A representative for Adobe, however, said via email that the company didn’t see the $72.2 billion sales figure being driven by higher prices. In a separate report on Thursday, the digital-media and analytics provider said online prices in October fell 0.7% year-over-year. But they rose 0.3% month-over-month. Online sales volumes for the month were not immediately available.
Read: Inflation should send holiday sales to a record high, even as retailers scale back seasonal hires
Adobe released those reports as government data on Thursday showed that consumer prices rose 0.4% in October. Prices fell for items like clothing and furniture, while grocery prices and rents moved higher. Wall Street has been hoping a cool-down in prices might prompt the Federal Reserve to lay off on further interest-rate hikes, which the central bank has used in an effort to keep the economy from overheating.
Last week, the National Retail Federation, a large industry group, said it expected holiday-period sales — measured as those taking place through November and December — to increase between 6% and 8% over last year, to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion, a potential record. The group forecast non-store and online sales of between $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion, a 10% and 12% year-over-year increase.
Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the NRF, during a call with reporters, said many customers were looking for bargains. And he said that part of the NRF’s forecast for an increase would come from higher prices.
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