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Online Inflation Soars Heading Into Busy Holiday Season

Online prices soared to record highs in November, according to Adobe Analytics.

Prices online surged 3.5% on a year-over-year basis as of November, the biggest increase since 2014, when Adobe started tracking the cost of goods on the internet and the 18th consecutive year of online inflation, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index (DPI). Prices on a month-to-month basis dropped 2% due to holiday discounts, according to Adobe.

“Census Bureau data shows that the e-commerce share of non-fuel retail spending has tripled over the last decade as more expenditures like groceries and home improvement move online,” Marshall Reinsdorf, former senior economist at International Monetary Fund, said in the report.

“Measures of digital economy prices have a growing role to play in how we understand inflation, and the Adobe Digital Price Index provides a timely pulse on this important part of the cost-of-living picture that complements indicators like the Consumer Price Index.”

The DPI highlights how much consumers pay for goods online and covers more than 100 million products in the U.S. The index covers 18 categories, eight of which saw a jump in prices during November.

“Ongoing supply chain constraints and durable consumer demand have underpinned the record high inflation in e-commerce, with apparel seeing high volumes of out-of-stock messages online compared to other categories,” Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe, said in the report. “With offline prices surging in the Consumer Price Index, however, it is still cheaper to shop online for categories such as toys, computers and sporting goods.”

Inflation surged to a 30-year high in October, with the Consumer Price Index growing over 6% on a year-over-year basis. November’s inflation data is scheduled for release on Friday.

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