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Grocery Among Biggest E-Commerce Categories, Adobe Finds

Software company’s data also shows inflation hasn’t notably stalled demand
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Grocery Among Biggest E-Commerce Categories, Adobe Finds
Adobe Digital Economy Index: annual U.S. online spend (Source: Adobe Analytics)

Computer software company Adobe verified several marketplace trends related to e-commerce and inflation in data released during the recent Adobe Summit virtual global event.

According to Adobe’s findings, groceries have become a major category in the digital space. Consumers spent $73.7 billion in the digital grocery market during the first year of the pandemic in 2020 and are expected to buy $85 billion in online groceries this year.

Groceries now comprise 8.9% of the total e-commerce market, which is led by electronics. Overall, Adobe reports that consumers in the United States have spent $1.7 trillion online during the two years of the pandemic from March 2020 through February 2022.

In addition, the research affirms shakeouts within the digital channel to curbside pickup and the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) model. According to Adobe, curbside pickup has accounted for 20% of all orders thus far in 2022. Although the pace of BNPL business has slowed as the pandemic waned, orders are still 53% higher on a year-over-year basis.

Adobe’s data also confirms the real and present impact of inflation on the market. Noting that inflation has continued for 21 straight months, the company found that U.S. consumers paid $32 billion more for the same amount of goods during that nearly two-year time frame. That said, Adobe reports that inflation has not put a big crimp in demand, with the first two months of 2022 driving up online spend by 13.8% compared to last year.

Patrick Brown, VP of growth marketing and insights for Adobe, said that the data underscores the importance of the digital grocery market. “E-commerce is being reshaped by grocery shopping, a category with minimal discounting compared to legacy categories like electronics and apparel,” he said. “It highlights a shift in the digital economy, where speed and convenience are becoming just as important as cost savings.”

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