Online Prices in US Jumped 2.1% in August Led by Surge in Groceries

(Bloomberg) — Online prices in the US rose 2.1% in August from the previous month, driven by a jump in the cost of groceries, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index.

The sharp monthly increase pushed the annual rate of online inflation up to 0.4%, Adobe said. The previous month, online prices had declined from a year earlier for the first time since 2020. Before the pandemic, the price of goods bought via e-commerce had been falling steadily for several years.

On an annual basis, food prices jumped a record 14.1% in August. The biggest declines came in the cost of computers bought online, which fell 12.6% from a year earlier — the steepest drop since the pandemic emergency began in March 2020. Electronics more broadly fell 10%.

Covid-19 led to a surge in online purchases of consumer goods that drove prices higher, as lockdowns restricted access to services like gyms or restaurant meals, and supply chains struggled to cope with the extra demand. While that boom may be cooling, the Federal Reserve is now concerned that inflation has spread from goods into services.

Roughly 15% of retail spending in the US is via e-commerce, a share that’s risen during the pandemic. Consumers spent $64.6 billion online last month, Adobe said.

The Adobe data is based on 1 trillion visits to retail sites and more than 100 million products across 18 categories.

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