Consumer Goods Prices Tick Up In December, January

In its Digital Price Index (DPI) for January, Adobe reports that U.S. consumer spending indicated higher than expected inflation for two consecutive months. Prices typically drop in November due to holiday discounts before rebounding. However, prices in December 2016 saw a bigger jump compared to 2015 (0.6 percent versus zero percent) and surpassed pre-holiday levels. This trend continued into January 2017, with prices increasing .05 percent, which resulted in 1.2 percent cumulative inflation for the last three months. This is greater than the 0.9 percent observed during the same period a year ago.

In producing its DPI, Adobe leverages the Adobe Marketing Cloud to analyze digital transactions and produce an analysis based on real-time access to price-paid data and actual quantities sold. To produce the January DPI, Adobe analyzed 15 billion U.S. website visits, one billion UK website visits and online transactions for over 2.2 million products sold online.

Adobe’s data found that inflation in December 2016 was especially notable for televisions (7.8 percent), appliances (six percent) and tablets (5.4 percent). However, despite the month-over-month increases, almost all categories in the DPI showed cumulative deflation throughout 2016, notably for televisions (-19.8 percent) and tablets (-16.1 percent).

“Data indicates that inflation may be on the rise following the Fed’s rate hike in December,” says Mickey Mericle, vice president of marketing and customer insights at Adobe. “We’ll continue to keep a close eye on price fluctuations as an indicator for the state of the U.S. economy. We’re already collaborating with the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), recently presented our findings to the Federal Reserve, and are meeting with several governments in Latin America to discuss the DPI.”

In December and January, the DPI began tracking five new categories, including alcoholic beverages, auto parts, tools and home improvement products, personal care products and pet products. By the end of 2017, Adobe plans to fill out the DPI with enough categories to get a full picture into the state of the U.S. economy. For more on the Adobe Digital Economy Project and the January report, click here.

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