May 2, 2018 / 5:53 PM / in a year

U.S. online consumer spending tops $100 billion in first quarter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumers spent a record $100 billion online in the first quarter, helped by holiday promotions, Adobe Analytics said on Wednesday, highlighting the ongoing switch to web retailers from brick-and-mortar stores.

Online sales rose 14.1 percent from the year-ago quarter, boosted by sales for Presidents Day and Martin Luther King, Jr Day, according to a report by the web analytics arm of Adobe Systems Inc.

“This continued fast-paced growth in online spending suggests that consumer confidence remains high, and we suspect the strong stock market is also helping buoy online sales,” Sid Kulkarni, manager for Adobe Digital Insights, another Adobe Systems research arm, said in a blog post.

Year-round discounts, which have hurt sales during the key November-December holiday shopping period in recent years, showed little signs of change during the first quarter.

For example, Presidents Day promotions in February offered average discounts of 5.5 percent on tablets, 2.5 percent on televisions, and 1.6 percent on appliances and toys, the Adobe report said.

“We’re seeing a slowdown in spending in the days just before a key shopping holiday, and then a boost when the sales begin,” Kulkarni said. “The pattern suggests that increasingly savvy online consumers are waiting to compare retailers’ deals, and then spending big when the prices dip.”

Prices drop faster online than in stores as retailers use dynamic algorithms that make changes faster on websites and sellers are more aggressive about cutting prices online, the report said.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in New York; Editing by Richard Chang

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