Adobe Digital Price Index: Online Inflation Hits Record High
- Online prices increased 3.5% year-over-year
- November marked 18th consecutive month of online
- One dollar out of every four dollars now spent online in the
Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the latest online inflation
data for the month of November 2021. Online prices hit a record
high at a 3.5% year-over-year (YoY) increase while prices are down
2% month-over-month (MoM) due to holiday discounts. This is the
highest YoY increase since Adobe first began tracking the digital
economy in 2014, and it marks the 18th consecutive month of YoY
online inflation. Apparel was a standout category with prices up
17.3% YoY and down just 0.4% MoM, reaching a record high of
inflation. One dollar out of every four dollars* is now spent
online in the U.S., making the digital economy a significant
component of the overall economy.
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The Adobe Digital Price Index (DPI) provides the most
comprehensive view into how much consumers are paying for goods
online. The DPI covers more than 100 million products in the U.S.
and is modeled after the Consumer Price Index issued by the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. The DPI is updated monthly and covers
18 product categories: electronics, apparel, appliances, books,
toys, computers, groceries, furniture/bedding, tools/home
improvement, home/garden, pet products, jewelry, medical
equipment/supplies, sporting goods, personal care products,
flowers/related gifts, nonprescription drugs and office
“Census Bureau data shows that the e-commerce share of non-fuel
retail spending has tripled over the last decade as more
expenditures like groceries and home improvement move online,” said
economist Marshall Reinsdorf, former senior economist at
International Monetary Fund. "Measures of digital economy prices
have a growing role to play in how we understand inflation, and the
Adobe Digital Price Index provides a timely pulse on this important
part of the cost-of-living picture that complements indicators like
the Consumer Price Index.”
“Ongoing supply chain constraints and durable consumer demand
have underpinned the record high inflation in e-commerce, with
apparel seeing high volumes of out-of-stock messages online
compared to other categories,” said Patrick Brown, vice president
of growth marketing and insights, Adobe. “With offline prices
surging in the Consumer Price Index, however, it is still cheaper
to shop online for categories such as toys, computers and sporting
Notable Categories in the Adobe Digital Price Index (November
In November 2021, 11 of the 18 categories tracked by the Adobe
Digital Price Index saw YoY price increases. Apparel prices rose
faster than any other category, while price drops were observed in
seven categories: electronics, personal care products, office
supplies, jewelry, books, toys and computers. On a MoM basis, all
but four categories (groceries, pet products, tools/home
improvement and medical equipment/supplies) saw prices decrease as
holiday discounts kicked in.
- Apparel: Prices are up 17.3% YoY and down 0.4% MoM.
Since 2014, only three months (August 2016, January 2020, February
2020) saw apparel prices rise online by 9% or more YoY. For the
past eight consecutive months, online prices for the category have
risen by over 9% YoY every month.
- Groceries: Prices are up 3.9% YoY and up 0.6% MoM.
Online prices have risen on an annual basis for 22 months, moving
in lock step with the Consumer Price Index, which captures prices
that consumers are paying for groceries in physical stores.
- Electronics: Prices are down 0.4% YoY and down
4.0% MoM. Historically (2015–2019), prices were down 9.06% YoY on
average for the category, which includes gaming consoles, mobile
devices, televisions and wearables. On Cyber Monday 2021, consumers
paid more for electronics compared to years past, with price drops
in the 12% range versus 27% range.
- Appliances: Prices are up 4% YoY and down 2.7% MoM. The
category has seen 19 consecutive months of online inflation on an
annual basis. After hitting a low point in December 2019 (prices
down 4.6% YoY), prices began rising by May 2020 (up 0.2% YoY) and
hit its peak in December 2020 (up 7.1% YoY).
- Toys: Prices are down 2.9% YoY and down 3.6% MoM. It is
one of few categories where pricing trends follow a historical
pattern of persistent, stronger deflation. (Books and computers
follow a similar trend). On Cyber Monday 2021, toys was the only
category where price drops were greater than last season, in the
22% range versus 19% range.
The DPI is modeled after the Consumer Price Index, published by
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and uses the Fisher Price
Index to track online prices. The Fisher Ideal Price Index uses
quantities of matched products purchased in the current period
(month) and a previous period (previous month) to calculate the
price changes by category. Adobe’s analysis is weighted by the real
quantities of the products purchased in the two adjacent
Powered by Adobe Analytics, the DPI analyzes 1 trillion visits
to retail sites and over 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories.
Adobe uses a combination of Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI and machine
learning framework, and manual effort to segment the products into
the categories defined by the CPI manual. The methodology was first
developed alongside renowned economists Austan Goolsbee and Pete
* Adobe expects $1 in $4 will be spent online during the 2021
holiday shopping season (Nov. 1 to Dec. 31), indexed to the
National Retail Federation’s (NRF) total retail forecast that
includes in-store sales.
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For
more information, visit www.adobe.com.
© 2021 Adobe. All rights reserved. Adobe and the Adobe logo are
either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United
States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the
property of their respective owners.
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Kevin Fu Adobe email@example.com Bassil Elkadi Adobe
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