Adobe Report Shows Online Apparel is High Turnover Business

Last week, Adobe released their May Digital Price Index (DPI) based on data mined from the Adobe Analytics Cloud. In short, the May DPI is based on 15 billion U.S. website visits, one billion UK site visits and over 2.2 million online transactions from the top 500 online retailers.

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The May report is the first one to include apparel products, and it revealed some interesting statistics.


This number extrapolates to over 2.5 million new apparel products on a yearly basis offered for sale on websites. And presumably, this rate is growing.

Nearly half of those products target women. That is probably not much of a shocker! While one-quarter target men and the remainder children, babies, and footwear.

Almost 1/3 of all spending on women’s clothing went toward products that are less than one month old. In comparison, 18% of men’s spending went to products available that are one month old or less.


The Adobe DPI data also shows that online sales of apparel products drop faster in price than offline.

The online apparel DPI decreased 4.3% YoY (Year over Year) in May compared to the Consumer Price Index’s deflation rate of 0.9% during the same period. Furthermore, data suggest that price drops are most prevalent among highest and lowest priced products.

High-end apparel, the top 25% most expensive products online, show a 5.5% drop in prices YoY, while low-end apparel, the lowest 25%, saw prices decrease by 7.5% over the same period

“With retail chains closing stores at a record pace, we’ve been closely watching the impact on the e-commerce world,” said Mickey Mericle, vice president, Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe. “For the first time, we are seeing that apparel sold online is clearly developed with a specific velocity in mind, and an incredibly high turnover rate, compared to other categories we track.”


It is the first real month of tracking by Adobe DPI. There was a significant impact of offline store closings that probably affected online sales competing with offline store closing blow-out deals.

However, the fact that so many new products sell so quickly is a very telling data point. This statistic indicates that most online apparel products have a short term sales lifespan.

As a small business eCommerce retailer that may be selling apparel products, you would want to look at your data. Do you see similar trends of initial sales that drop off rapidly?

If this is the case, you may need to adjust your product mix, inventory, and availability. The apparel category appears to show an extremely high turnover and rotation of stock that smaller eCommerce business cannot ignore.

Unlike major retailers that have secondary markets with discount retailers such as Marshalls or TJMax, small businesses likely do not have that option.

This problem means you may wish to consider other channels of reducing “old” apparel stock such as eBay auctions or running an independently branded deal only website.

Do you run an apparel eCommerce store? We love to hear if your data suggest similar trends in the comment section below.

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