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Is Grocery Poised to Gain More E-Comm Share This Holiday Season?

Adobe Analytics report foresees $209.7B in online sales, with record $13.3B in digital grocery spend
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Adobe Analytics predicts a slight increase in overall digital sales for the holidays, with groceries one of three main drivers.

Another organization is out with its forecast for online holiday shopping. Instead of a crystal ball, Adobe Analytics used its data – including more than a trillion visits to U.S. sites and 100 million SKUs – to project a $209.7 billion e-commerce season.  That is a modest 2.5% uptick from the same 2021 time period.

While Adobe’s report took a look at traditional holiday gift categories like toys, electronics and computers, the data also revealed new opportunities for grocers. According to the analysis, groceries are expected to hit a record $13.3 billion in digital spending as consumers plan their holiday meals, up 10.5% on a year-over-year basis. The three sectors of groceries, electronics and apparel will combine for nearly half of what Adobe expects for overall digital spending during the 2022 holidays. 

Not surprisingly in the current inflationary climate, Adobe anticipates a lot of discounts and deal-seeking. The company’s analysis points to record-high discounts upwards of 32% for the season, mostly across computers, electronics and toys. As major retailers like Amazon and Target have announced earlier online savings events to help move inventory and kick off the merchandising season, Adobe also noted that shoppers will score bargains starting the second week of October and running through the traditional peak e-comm days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

“The shape of the holiday season will look different this year, with early discounting in October pulling up spend that would have occurred around Cyber Week,” said Patrick Brown, VP of growth marketing and insights at San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe. “Even though we expect to see single-digit growth online this season, it is notable that consumers have already spent over $590 billion online this year at 8.9% growth, highlighting the resiliency of e-commerce demand.” 

Adobe also analyzed modes of digital shopping and predicts that curbside pickup is becoming a familiar and popular fulfillment method and will peak between Dec. 22 and 23, including for groceries.

This is the latest report spotlighting the upcoming holiday shopping season. Another report, the CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker, indicated that shoppers in the United States are planning to spend more at discount chains like Walmart and Target than at small business and locally-owned stores. Last week, Kroger’s 84.51° data science and media arm published a whitepaper forecasting a return to holiday celebrations in the post-pandemic era but also cautioning about the impact of inflation and ongoing supply chain issues.

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