Online retailers are seeing Black Friday-like sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. According to new data from Adobe’s digital economy index, U.S. e-commerce jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before shelter-in-place restrictions took effect . Online grocery shopping contributed to the increase in sales, with a 110% increase in daily sales between March and April. Meanwhile, electronic sales increased 58% and book sales doubled.
The data comes from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, which analyzes more than a trillion online transactions across 100 million different SKUs. The company is working with 80 of America’s top 100 online retailers to collect its data.
The numbers indicate that consumers are willing to spend on products that will help them manage the COVID-19 crisis. This includes, in large part, online grocery pickup and delivery.
Companies including Amazon, Walmart and Instacart have hired more workers to meet increased consumer demand in their retail operations. Instacart even went profitable for the first time, The Information recently reported, due to the outbreak triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. The company sold around $ 700 million worth of groceries in the first two weeks of April, up 450% from its December 2019 sales, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the electronics category of online sales experienced its first inflation in years. According to Adobe, online electronics prices have been deflating at a constant rate since 2014, but COVID-19 has caused electronics prices to flatten.
Computer prices even climbed in April, due to increased demand. What’s more, sales of audio mixers, microphones, microphone cables and other audio equipment jumped 459% in April, as potential podcasters and various creatives set up their home studios.
The overall electronics category also appears to be on an upward trajectory now. This might not end anytime soon, the Adobe report warns, as the impact of COVID-19 on the electronic supply chain could continue for many months.
Meanwhile, consumers turned online to shop for clothes in April, with sales increasing 34% due to lower prices. Without needing to dress for work – due to unemployment or new work-from-home policies – April saw the biggest monthly drop in clothing prices in more than five years. While April typically experiences an average price growth of -2.9%, in April the growth was -12%. Prices fell further as retailers looked to boost sales by clearing stocks earlier.
When consumers shopped, they unsurprisingly shifted their focus to convenience items. April saw an increase in items like pajamas (up 143%) and a decrease in work clothes like pants and jackets (down 13% and 33%, respectively).
In addition to growth in specific categories, April also saw significant growth in “buy online, pick up in store” orders. From April 1 to April 20, those jumped 208% year over year as people tried to practice social distancing when shopping.
The data from Adobe is accompanied by other reports that point to a huge jump in online shopping in April.
For example, data from Bazaarvoice, based on its network of more than 6,200 brand and retail sites, indicated that April was a much bigger month for e-commerce than March. As consumers finished stocking up on basic necessities (like toilet paper, maybe!)
Adobe’s report also found that online purchases of wine, beer, spirits and related accessories increased 74% in April, as consumers weathered the COVID-19 crisis.
According to Bazaarvoice, April 2020 grew even faster than March for all metrics tracked, including pageviews, number of orders, review submission, and question submission.
March ended with a 25% increase in pageviews year over year, according to the report, while April ended with an 88% increase. And March ended with a 21% year-over-year increase in orders, while April ended with a 96% increase. Moreover, while browsing behavior such as pageviews overtook purchasing behavior in March, this trend reversed in April.
The overall impact of the move to the Internet could be a price increase, Adobe warned.
“As e-commerce absorbs the offline retail economy, some inflation is seen for the first time in years, especially in categories that have consistently experienced online deflation, such as electronics. Said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “Americans are used to things getting cheaper online, but that trend may be ending and online commerce may never be the same again. It appears that COVID-19 has accelerated this process. “