Need to Know
- New data from the Adobe Digital Economy Index shows that online spending from March 2020 to February 2021 hit $844 billion.
- Adobe anticipates e-commerce will bring in up to $930 in 2021, and that 2022 will be the first trillion-dollar year for e-commerce in the US.
- Online retail trends established in 2020 have continued in the first months of 2021, including the continued popularity of home improvement purchases, and the use of curbside pickup.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented spike in online commerce. Now, Adobe has released its Digital Economy Index: COVID-19 report, which looks at exactly how much money was spent online in the US during 2020.
According to the report, online spending between March 2020 — when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic — and February 2021 hit $844 billion in the US. During the 2020 calendar year, online spending in the U.S. reached $813 billion, marking a 42% year-over-year increase from 2019.
Adobe anticipates that e-commerce will ring in up to $930 in 2021 and that online spending will hit $1 trillion for the first time the following year.
Online buying has continued to spike in 2021, with US consumers spending $121 billion online between January and February of this year, marking a 34% year-over-year increase. Other shopping habits and buying trends that snowballed in popularity during 2020 have continued, including an uptick in the purchase of home improvement products, which showed a 60% year-over-year increase in the first two months of 2021, and online grocery shopping, which grew by 230% between February 1 and 22, 2021, when compared to January 6 to 26, 2020. During that time period, the sporting goods category saw 75% growth, while curbside pickup grew 67% year-over-year in February 2021.
While online shopping increased overall, branded shopping days decreased in importance. On Memorial Day, for instance, on which retailers typically offer significant sales and discounts, commerce grew 20% less than other days that week. Consumers also lost some online purchasing power in 2020 due to supply-chain issues. Where consumers might typically see a 4% annual increase in online purchase power, it decreased by 1% year-over-year in 2020.
Adobe’s Digital Economy Index is based on Adobe Analytics tools, which analyze more than one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and over 100 million SKUs. Previously, Adobe used its Digital Economy Index to report that, by mid-September, the US had already experienced 130 $2 billion shopping days in 2020, in addition to three $3 billion online shopping days. At the time, Adobe reported that U.S. consumers had spent 14 billion hours shopping online during 2020 thus far.