Ecommerce Sales Continued Explosive Growth in April

Driven by COVID-19 restrictions, ecommerce sales grew 49% between the early March shutdowns and the end of April, according to Adobe’s latest Digital Economy Index, with large gains in curbside and store pickup and e-grocery as the retail world continues to reset.

During the period, daily online grocery sales more than doubled at a 110% jump, and electronics sales were up 58%. Grocery delivery service Instacart in particular is reaping great gains from e-grocery, seeing its first profit and selling $700 million worth of groceries in the first two weeks of April, according to The Information, up 450% since December.

Adobe reported that electronics prices, particularly for computers (up an average of 3.1%), were inflated for the first time in years due to the large increase in demand.

“It’s unlikely that consumers will continue to experience favorable pricing online for electronics,” John Copeland, vice president of marketing and customer insights at Adobe in a blog post. “Supply chain impact may even exacerbate these price changes in the coming months.”

Buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) rose 208% between April 1-20, Adobe reported, as this practice continues to be part of the new norm for retailers and consumers.

Apparel shoppers also experienced a bonanza at the expense of challenged retailers, as falling prices to clear out clogged inventory levels spurred a 34% increase in sales. Adobe said apparel prices dropped 12% between March and April, a rate that’s more than 4x higher than the normal rate of 2.9% at this time of year.

Adobe’s findings are validated in other places, including data analysis from digital marketing platform Bazaarvoice, which found ecommerce orders up 96% in April year-over-year, a huge jump from March, when it was up 21%. Its findings are based upon data gleaned from ecommerce transactions across 6,200 brand and retail sites.

“While the week of April 19-25 had the highest percentage of year-over-year growth for order count, it slowed a little bit over the final week of April,” said Veronica Hottenroth, Director, Product Management for Bazaarvoice in a blog post. “This could potentially be because the end of the month may be a more challenging time for consumers financially, particularly with unemployment climbing.”

All the indicators Bazaarvoice tracks (page views, order count, review submission, question submission) were up more than 3x in April vs. March, and growth in each is more than 2.5x faster than it was pre-COVID-19.

Some categories that popped in Bazaarvoice’s analysis:

  • Toys and games had the largest increase in pageviews (261%), as well as a 155% increase in order count.
  • Arts and entertainment saw a 166% increase in pageviews and a 171% increase in order count. Reviews (103%) and question submission (31%) were also up.
  • Sporting goods is seeing positive increases across pageviews (152%), order count (220%), review submission (22%), and question submission (49%).
  • Animal and pet supplies experienced a 145% lift in pageviews and 53% increase in order count.

Adobe’s index is based on more than a trillion of anonymized and aggregated visits to retail websites and tens of millions of product SKUs from 80 of the top U.S. 100 retailers.

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