Adobe Forecasts Record Online Sales, Continued Supply Chain Issues
Adobe Analytics is out with its latest holiday shopping forecast, and the analytics firm is predicting record online shopping sales even as supply chain issues continue to challenge retailers.
“We're entering a second holiday season where the pandemic will dictate the terms,” Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe, said in a press release Wednesday. “Limited product availability, higher prices, and concerns about shipping delays will drive another surge towards e-commerce, as it provides more flexibility in how and when consumers choose to shop.”
Online Sales Could Hit New Record, But Spending Growth Could Slow
Adobe expects U.S. holiday sales online to hit $207 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, which would set a new record. That would be a 10 percent increase from 2020, compared to a 33 percent jump from 2019 to 2020 when physical stores were closed or limited.
Lack of Inventory Continues to Be a Major Issue
Out-of-stock messages are up 172 percent compared to pre-pandemic, and it's predicted to only get worse as demand continues. Retailers have faced and will continue to face clogged supply chains as major ports continue to be shuttered because of COVID-19, staff shortages continue, and shipping containers are sparse. Apparel is the highest out-of-stock category of retail, along with sporting goods, baby and toddler products, and electronics. As a result, retailers will start deals earlier to avoid logistical shipping problems, according to Adobe.
Prices for Product Continue to Rise
Adobe expects U.S. consumers will pay 9 percent more on average during Cyber Week — the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday — than last year. Those higher prices are a result of smaller discounts as well as e-commerce inflation that has persisted throughout the year. Adobe found that the major shopping days are losing prominence, with Cyber Monday sales growth expected to come in at 5 percent year-over-year.
Total Retail's Take: Consumers and retailers alike should brace for an unusual holiday season. Customers will be ordering earlier, and deals will be happening sooner, with perhaps less attention on Cyber Week this year as consumers try to get their holiday gifts secured ahead of supply chain issues. As customers feel more comfortable shopping in stores this holiday season, online sales will look different as well. All should be prepared for items to be out of stock at certain points as retailers continue navigating choppy supply chain waters.