Global digital sales fall for first time in nine years, Salesforce quarterly Shopping Index finds

International tech firm Salesforce has today released its latest quarterly Shopping Index covering Q1 of 2022, which reveals how after several quarters of consecutive growth in online shopping, a combination of inflation (up 12% in March), supply chain issues and economic insecurity have caught up with consumers’ purchasing power.

The Shopping Index paints a picture of the retail market worldwide by analysing the activity and online shopping behaviour of more than one billion shoppers across more than 64 countries, with a focus on 12 key markets (USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Netherlands, Australia/New Zealand, APAC, and the Nordics). 

Key findings from the index show:

  • Global digital sales fell for the first time in the index’s nine-year history, with a dip of 3% on YoY spend growth
  • Total order volumes dipped by 12%
  • 9% of global Q1 2022 spend was done using BNPL, up 20% year-over-year, up 9% since Q4 2021
  • Product categories with the greatest inventory decrease include toys and learning (-23%) and appliances (-12%).

Current geopolitical and economic events are having an impact on the consumer wallet, which means a major shift in consumer optimism may soon be approaching. This could drive down discretionary spending for the remainder of the year and push retailers to offer heavy discounts or flexible payment options as a mechanism to lure back weary consumers.

“Inflation has finally caught up to bullish spending, with consumers buying fewer items from fewer retailers,” said Rob Garf, VP and GM, retail at Salesforce. “This likely isn’t a temporary mindset, but instead a signal of a larger consumer behavioral shift. To address this, retailers must remove friction between physical and digital channels to attract and retain loyal shoppers.”