U.S. online prices dropped, spending slowed in April

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© Reuters. An Apt F retailer goes wholesale shopping on the Faire platform that connects small brands with small retailers in this picture taken in Austin, U.S., August 2019. Faire/Handout via REUTERS

By Howard Schneider

(Reuters) – Online prices fell 0.5% in April and U.S. consumers pulled back on electronic commerce, possibly reflecting a change in consumer behavior and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb inflation, tech firm Adobe (NASDAQ:), which monitors online prices, reported.

A surge of inflation during the pandemic reversed years in which electronic commerce had helped hold overall inflation lower.

Some relief may be coming, the tech firm reported. The decline in April compared to a record 0.3% increase in March.

On a year-over-year basis, inflation for the 100 million goods monitored by Adobe fell to 2.9% in April versus 3.6% in March.

Online sales fell to $77.8 billion in April from around $83 billion in March.

“As the cost of borrowing and economic uncertainty rises for consumers, we are beginning to see the early impact on both

online inflation and spend,” said Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe.

The Fed is raising interest rates to try to slow demand for goods and services and, over time, to moderate the pace of price increases.

New government data on consumer prices will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

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