US consumers spent $331.6 billion online during the first four months of 2024 (1 January to 30 April 2024), up 7% year-over-year, supported by stable spend in discretionary categories including electronics and apparel, along with a continued surge in grocery shopping online, according to online shopping data from Adobe.

Adobe expects the first half of 2024 to drive over $500 billion in spend online, representing 6.8% YoY growth.

In the first four months of the year, consumers spent $61.8 billion online for electronics (up 3.1% YoY) and $52.5 billion for apparel (up 2.6% YoY). Both categories account for around one-third (34.5%) of overall e-commerce spend and helped maintain topline growth. This was further bolstered by groceries, which drove $38.8 billion online and rose significantly at 15.7% YoY.

Another rising category online has been cosmetics, which Adobe is profiling for the first time. The category drove $35 billion in online spend in 2023, with YoY growth at 15.6%. The upward trend has continued, with consumers spending $13.2 billion online for cosmetics in 2024 thus far, up 8% YoY.

Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst, Vivek Pandya said, “In an unpredictable economic environment, the latest data from Adobe Analytics shows continued resilience in the digital economy, as consumers embrace new categories online. Groceries is a standout, and Adobe expects that in the next three years, the category will be a dominant force in e-commerce that is on par with electronics and apparel in revenue share.”

Months of persistent inflation has led shoppers to embrace cheaper goods across major e-commerce categories. For each category tracked by Adobe, prices were separated into four quartiles from the highest to lowest prices. Shares of units sold in the most expensive and least expensive quartiles were then tracked from January 2019 to April 2024.

Adobe found the share of the cheapest goods increased significantly across categories including personal care (96%), electronics (64%), apparel (47%), home/garden (42%), furniture/bedding (42%), and grocery (33%).

On the other hand, the share of cheapest goods increased less dramatically in sporting goods (28%), appliances (26%), tools/home improvement (26%) and toys (25%).

Consumers have continued to embrace Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) for greater flexibility in managing their budgets. From January to April 2024, $25.9 billion of e-commerce spend was driven by BNPL, up 11.8% from the same period last year. Adobe expects strong growth through the remainder of year, with BNPL set to drive between $81 billion and $84.8 billion in 2024, putting YoY growth between 8% and 13%.