Online Prices for Apparel Have Increased More Than Any Other Consumer Product Category
Online shopping has been getting incrementally more expensive for the last 15 months, according to a report from Adobe Digital Insights.
While the inflation rate has been affecting consumer product categories nearly across the board, no category has seen higher inflation rates than apparel.
According to data published by CNBC, the historical average change in online prices for apparel was -1.08% from 2015 to 2019. In August of 2021, the price of apparel online rose 15.52%. To compare, the next-highest rate was nonprescription drugs, which saw an increase of 4.66%.
During the pandemic, e-commerce became crucial for shopping as brick-and-mortar locations closed their doors and people minimized venturing out for non-essential items. That shift in shopping preferences has continued into 2021, with CNBC reporting that American consumers have already spent more than $541 billion on e-commerce during the first eight months of the year—a 9% increase over the same period in 2020 and 58% higher than 2019.
But the U.S. Department of Labor reportedly said that prices of some consumer goods rose less than expected in August, which could indicate that things are starting to level out. But that figure does not include the price of goods online.
A lot of this can be chalked up to the supply chain issues all over the world, which have resulted in raw materials shortages, delayed shipments and container backlogs at major ports, driving up prices across the board.
“The bulk of the recent upturn in U.S. inflation has been driven primarily by supply chain bottlenecks and low levels of inventories, but higher labor costs are also passed on to consumers and are considered a precursor of broader inflation,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, told CNBC.
As the holiday season approaches and shipping companies like FedEx, UPS and the USPS brace for high demand, it’s unlikely that American consumers will slow down with their online shopping. Let's hope prices don't follow suit.