Pajama sales rise 143% in April, while pants sales drop 13% amid COVID-19: Data

Adobe Marketing & Customer Insights Vice President John Copeland joins Yahoo FInance’s Zack Guzman to discuss Adobe’s Digital Economy Index that reveals the coronavirus is driving a surge in online shopping.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: As we've been documenting for you, there have been a few changes in the way that Americans have been shopping out there through the lockdown. And despite the fact that more businesses are preparing to open up right now, we have seen some interesting trends in what Americans are purchasing online. And for more on that, we're being joined now by John Copeland. He's Adobe Vice President of Marketing and Customer Insights.

And John, welcome back to the program. It's good to chat again. I think this time the most interesting thing that jumped out to me in your guys' data was the surge in pajama sales here, up 143%, with pants sales dropping 13%. So apparently Americans still are getting cozy in quarantine.

JOHN COPELAND: Hi, Zach, yeah. It's great to see you again, too. Thanks for having me back on. That is one of the interesting stats that came out. In fact, I heard an apparel designer here in the Bay Area refer to the trend as mullet wear, right, people getting really comfortable. And yeah, you see that with the PJs up 143%, while at the same time sales of pants down 17%, right?

But we're seeing e-commerce in general really growing quickly. So month-over-month, it's up nearly 50%, really driven by categories like daily online grocery sales more than doubling. Electronics is still up 58%. Wine and spirits, 74% month-over-month. And generally we're seeing also consumers' digital purchasing power-- so how much can they get for their dollar-- up 4% online year-over-year. So $0.4 on that digital dollar from last April. So a lot of activity moving online.

ZACK GUZMAN: The other interesting thing that you've been highlighting here, so many people been talking about inflation and worries there, down the road what we could be dealing with on that front. What have you seen in terms of prices for what people are buying maybe when you dig a little bit further into specific categories?

JOHN COPELAND: Yeah, great question. So in some categories like apparel, we're actually seeing prices continue to drop. Normally when we move into April, we expect about a 3% decline in online prices for apparel. It's actually down 12%. So there's been an acceleration of deflation in apparel.

But in some categories we're seeing inflation like we've never seen before. So we're used to seeing prices in electronics going down continuously. But for the first time in the five years we've been tracking it, we're starting to see prices in electronics going up. So computers, up 3%. Electronics more broadly, up 0.8%. Toys even going up a percent and a half.

So whether it's the increased demand from consumers now buying more online or challenges with supply chain and fulfillment, we are seeing a change in those prices. Online groceries, too, right? It's never been really a deflationary category. But we've seen prices in the last month for online groceries go up over 2%.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and I mean, I guess that is the thing, too. It's so hard to actually get your hands on a Nintendo Switch if you wanted one. We've been talking about that just because everyone is at home trying to keep themselves busy. So we have seen that.

From a flip side, though, when you talk about the deflation in apparel pricing, is that just because so many different stores right now are having only to go through that channel and are trying to compete with each other to get that customer?

JOHN COPELAND: Yeah, I'm sure that's exacerbating the trend. Like I said, normally we see prices go down about 3%. And a lot of that have to do with end-of-season sales as people move into summer, for example, and they're getting out of spring. And certainly clearing out whatever they might have leftover from winter. But now, in part because of the change in the mix, the increased focus on comfortable clothing, things like pants and jackets and all the things that we might be wearing to the office are even further discounted.

ZACK GUZMAN: Real quick, though, last time you were on, you were highlighting the importance of BOPIS, buy online, pick up in store. Here for some of these retailers, we know that's been a big emphasis with some like Target and Walmart rolling that out. That trend seems to be continuing here. Even if stores do open up, that trend is nice since you don't have to actually come in contact with people. What are you seeing on that front?

JOHN COPELAND: Yeah, so great question. In fact, what we've seen year-over-year-- so last April versus April 2019-- a tripling, a 208% increase-- in orders being bought online and picking up in stores. So people not wanting necessarily, even yet as stores open up, to be going through the aisles. They'd rather go there, pick up what they've bought.

And so it's a little bit of the best of both worlds, right? You can buy from the comfort and convenience of your home, maybe the safety and security there, too. But then you can go to the store to pick it up, and you have it right then and there, and you don't have to wait for days or weeks to get it delivered.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, all very important data points here as we continue to track how things are changing throughout this lockdown. But John, appreciate you taking the time. John Copeland, Adobe Vice President of Marketing and Customer Insights. Thank you again, sir.

JOHN COPELAND: Thank you.

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