Online prices were up only 2% in May

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Online prices were up only 2% last month compared to a year earlier, according to The Adobe Digital Price Index. That’s a far better showing than the rest of the U.S. where the inflation rate hit 8.2% in May. 

May’s online prices were down 0.7% from April and 1.6% from March’s record 3.6% increase. The DPI tracks prices across 18 categories, 10 of which saw decreases last month.

Less expensive. Electronics and computers had the biggest price decreases. Electronics were down 6.5% YoY and 1.4% from the month before. That’s a greater decrease than April (-5.2% YoY), and a record YoY low for the category over the last 24 months. Computer prices dropped 7.05% from the same period last year.

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More expensive. Groceries and apparel had the biggest increases in the most frequently purchased categories. The price of groceries was up 11.7% YoY, the biggest increase of any category and 1.7 percentage points higher than the increase reported by the U.S. Consumer Price Index. Clothes prices were up 9% compared to a year earlier.

Spending rises. Consumers spent $78.8 billion online in May, up 7.1% from the year before and $1 billion more than in April. In 2022 so far, consumers have spent a total of $377.6 billion online, up 8.9% for the same period in 2021.

Why we care. The Digital Price Index’s selection of categories is interesting for a couple of reasons. First – and the reason its inflation rate is so low – you can’t buy gas online (current average price of regular is $5.009/gallon, up $2 from a year before). Second, it doesn’t include travel – which Adobe does track. In a separate report, the company said airline ticket prices were up 30% in May, compared to a year earlier, and an amazing 47% since the start of the year.


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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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