By Eric J. Savitz

U.S. e-commerce activity recently spiked 25% from earlier in March, as Americans hunkered down in the face of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, new data from Adobe shows.

The Adobe Digital Economy Index reflects data from the software company’s analytics tools, which are used by 80 of the top 100 U.S. web retailers. The index tracks sales of 55 million individual products. Adobe (ticker: ADBE) said that from March 13-15, daily U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 25% from earlier in the month, largely driven by a doubling of daily online grocery sales.

One thing to note about the data is that each data point covers a different time period. “Many of these product categories are having their inflection points occur at different times, and that’s why the measurement windows are falling at varied time periods,” an Adobe representative said. “The computers category for instance, didn’t really see an increase until mid-March, while groceries experienced their boost in early February, and products like hand sanitizers were spiking as early as late January…so in order to profile the magnitude of the growth swing and consumer buying behavior, we’ve had to set measurement periods, during the time that they occurred, so that we don’t miss their growth trajectory and/or mischaracterize the impact in demand.”

Not surprisingly, Adobe found huge spikes in online purchases of some cleaning products and non-perishable foods.

  • From January to March 11, Adobe said, sales in the “virus protection” category, including hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, and anti-bacterial sprays surged 807%.
  • Purchases of over-the-counter cold, flu and pain medicines were up 217%.
  • Toilet paper sales spiked 231%.
  • Sales of non-perishable canned goods and shelf-stable goods increased 87%.
  • From March 11-15, daily orders for fitness equipment (such as kettlebells, dumbbells, treadmills, etc.) were up 55% from the first 10 days of the month.
  • Between March 11 and March 25, online orders for computers (laptop, desktop and more) increased 40% from March 1-10.
  • Adobe said average sales at online apparel stores dropped 13% in the March 12 to March 25 period, versus a baseline period of Feb. 1 to March 10. But the company said that overall apparel-category sales were running about flat compared with the period before the virus outbreak, attributable to promotional activity at several larger retailers.
  • Adobe found a spike in daily “buy online, pickup in store” transactions, up 62% from Feb. 24 to March 21.

Feature Image Credit: Adobe found a spike in daily “buy online, pickup in store” transactions, up 62% from Feb. 24 to March 21. Photograph by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

By Eric J. Savitz

Sourced from Barron’s

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