You’re not imagining it. Online shopping is becoming more expensive. That’s according to the latest Adobe Digital Economy Index (DEI) report. Adobe’s DEI tracks the prices of consumer goods purchased online much like the Consumer Price Index (CPI) tracks the prices of goods bought in traditional stores. Each index, in other words, tracks inflation.
And for years, the DEI showed that online prices generally became cheaper year after year thanks, in part, to lower overheads, increased competition, and a glut of availability of the products sold online. But COVID-19 changed all that as consumers rushed to switch their shopping habits from the brick-and-mortar world to the digital one. With that change came a surge in demand and supply-chain constraints, according to Adobe, which leads to either a rise in goods bought online or a deceleration in their trend to become cheaper over time.
Of the 18 categories tracked by Adobes DEI, 12 of them saw increased prices in July 2021 compared to a year earlier. Apparel was the worst hit, with prices rising 15.26% (compared to an average annual 1.08% decrease YOY in years before the pandemic). Nonprescription drugs were another category that saw a massive price hike, rising 5.66% in July 2021. Sporting goods, books, and flowers, and related gifts also saw price rises of 3.54%, 2.26%, and 1.91%, respectively.