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Digital commerce crossed a key milestone in 2022, according to a new report.
The news: U.S. spend on digital commerce exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in 2022, according to a new report from media measurement firm Comscore. The record-breaking year saw 21% year-over-year growth, according to the 2023 State of Digital Commerce Report. The report measured spending across desktop and mobile devices.
Pull-forward sticks? The new data also adds evidence that ecommerce continues to have an upward growth trajectory, even as 2022 saw a pullback from the runaway growth of the two peak-pandemic years.
It shows there remains a chance that some of the pandemic gains may also prove to be sticky. Digital commerce was at $705.4 billion during the pandemic’s first year of 2020. A year later, it reached $904.3 billion. Now, it crossed the trillion-dollar mark.
“That level of growth previously took four years to achieve. Consumers are clearly doubling down on what works best for them--seamless, convenient, online purchasing across many different verticals and product types,” said Comscore’s Ian Essling, senior director of survey insights at Comscore, in a statement.
Mobile rising: Mobile phones are continuing to drive growth of digital commerce. During the key holiday period of Q4, dollars spent on mobile devices grew 26%, while desktop grew 14%. Now, mobile’s share of commerce is mobile’s share of total digital commerce is approaching 40%.
More key stats:
- Holiday growth: Online retail spending during the two months of the 2022 holiday season crossed $230 billion. This represented growth of 20% year-over-year.
- The top spending categories were online grocery and apparel. By category, there was $219 billion spent on grocery, baby, pet items. Further, $175 billion was spent on apparel and accessories. Another $117 billion was spent on computers and peripherals.
- The top growing digital commerce categories year-over-year were event tickets (75%), digital content (60%) and apparel and accessories (37%).
Trending in Economy
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.