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As ecommerce grows, online shoppers are getting more bang for their buck, index suggests

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The rise in ecommerce is driving increased sales of some key items – and falls in sales of others – but it is also seeing shoppers get more for their money.

So finds Adobe, which on analysing trillions of online transactions across 100 million product SKUs in 18 product categories has found that the digital purchasing power of consumers is up 3% year-over-year and has increased 20% since 2014, with $1 buying today what it would have taken $1.20 to buy in 2014.

Over that same time, $1 spent buying a similar set of goods offline lost value, with $1 in 2020 buying what would have only cost 88 cents in 2014. However, the expectation is that as more of people’s lives move online, the offline and online economies will continue to converge and so will their prices.

What’s in the basket?

Some product categories have taken a bigger share of the digital basket while others have fallen off. The grocery category has increased its share of the basket from 6% to 8% in three years. Apparel retailers made the pivot to digital early and have seen their share of total online transactions increase from 21% to 23% over the last five years. Conversely, computers have decreased from 21% to 8% in the wake of the mobile computing boom.

According to its data, the new shopping basket in the US includes Apparel (23% share), Electronics (16%), Home and Garden (12%), Computers (8%), Groceries (8%), Home Improvement Tools (5%), Home Appliances (4%), Personal Care Products (4%), Flowers and Related Gifts (3%), Office Supplies (3%), Sporting Goods (2%), Books (2%), Jewellery (2%), Furniture and Bedding (2%), Pet Supplies and Products (2%), and Toys and Games (2%). Goods in the Non-Prescription Drugs and Medical Equipment and Supplies categories make up 1% each.

Coronavirus impact

Much of the change in digital shopping behaviour is now being driven by the pandemic. Between 1 January 2020 and 11 March 2020, purchases of several products have seen a significant jump in sales: 807% for hand sanitizers, gloves, masks and anti-bacterial sprays; 217% for over-the-counter drug purchases (cold, flu and pain relievers); 231% for toilet paper; and 87% for canned goods and shelf-stable items.

Additionally, with many US consumers confined to their homes starting in March, orders for fitness equipment (kettlebells, dumbbells, stationary bikes and treadmills) and computers (desktops and laptops) have seen 55% and 40% boosts in online sales respectively.

The online grocery shopping category overall has seen a 100% increase in daily online sales between 13 March and 15 March, while BOPIS has seen a surge with a 62% year-over-year increase between 24 February and 21 March.

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