Ecommerce prices increased 2.7% in January, reflective of overall inflation soaring in the broader economy, representing the 20th consecutive months of price gains online, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index, with e-grocery leading the way at a 5.8% gain.
This was a slight dropoff from December’s wrap to the holiday season, when online prices rose 3.1%, according to Adobe. The prior month was even rougher on consumers, with the price index up 3.5%.
The increase for groceries online was a new record for the index, exceeding the previous high of a 5.2% gain in October 2020, as retail grocery prices continue to climb and impact consumers and more pain coming. January was the 24th consecutive month of e-grocery prices rising, the longest such streak.
Buyers of consumer electronics – which did not include computers – saw some relief, according to Adobe, with prices dropping 3.4% vs. the year-ago month of January.
Prices for apparel were up 15.8% in January, Adobe reported, but down 1.7% month-over-month from December. Apparel prices online were up 16.6% in December and 17.3% in November.
“While price drops in categories like electronics and apparel have brought online inflation down slightly from the record high last November, consumers are still contending with elevated prices in the digital economy,” said Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe. “This is particularly notable in a category like groceries, where online prices continue to hit new records, while consumer demand for online grocery shopping remains heightened.”
In January, 13 of the 18 categories tracked by Adobe saw price increases. In addition to electronics, prices also fell online for jewelry, books, toys and computers.
Adobe models its ecommerce index after the Consumer Price Index (CPI), published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and also uses the Fisher Price Index to track online prices. The latter uses quantities of matched products purchased in current and previous months to calculate price changes by category. Adobe’s analysis is weighted by real quantities of products purchased in the two adjacent months.