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: Shoppers will spend more than ever on holiday gifts online. But here’s where they might cut back to make it work.

After two years of anxiety over whether knots in the supply chain and higher prices would ruin the holidays, U.S. consumers this year are still expected to spend a record $221.8 billion online over the season, helped by record discounts, according to a forecast from Adobe released Thursday.

Those shoppers are likelier to seek smaller cutbacks to make it all work, sacrificing pricier expedited-shipping options, leaning more on buy-now-pay-later services and doing more of their shopping during the big discount days, the company said. And after the pandemic’s upheaval to the economy, online prices are down from last year and settling back into pre-pandemic patterns, Adobe says.

“In terms of being able to make their holiday season successful and get all the gifts they need, they’re definitely in a better position within this type of pricing environment than they were this time last year,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights.

Adobe said it expects U.S. online sales this holiday season, measured by the period stretching from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, to increase 4.8% from last year. That would be better than the 3.5% sales growth notched last year. But it would still be lower than the gains put up in 2021, 2020 and 2019.

Prices for things sold online overall, Pandya said, are down around 3% year over year. But higher borrowing costs, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes, higher grocery prices and the return of student-loan payments, could also restrain demand.

“What we see is a lot of consumers really being strategic and wanting to take advantage of the best discounts,” Pandya said.

That will likely mean packing more shopping into Amazon’s AMZN, +1.83% fall Prime Day this month, as well as Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday next month.

This month’s Prime Day event — which runs from Oct. 10 through Oct. 11 and is a relatively new addition to an ever-expanding holiday-shopping season — is expected to haul in $8.1 billion in sales, Adobe said. For Cyber Week, or Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, shoppers are expected to spend $37.2 billion.

Forty-nine percent of respondents to an Adobe survey said they would likely start holiday shopping in October, with 56% saying they would take advantage of early discounts. Sixty-one percent said they “are not willing” to pay for faster shipping options. One in five customers said they planned to use buy-now-pay-later options to buy gifts over the holiday season. Holiday-period spending via buy-now-pay-later options is expected to jump 16.9% to $17 billion, Adobe said.

The shopping season will kick off after backups at ports and warehouses in 2021 left retailers concerned about being understocked, and after a spike in food and oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left them concerned with being overstocked in 2022.

The higher prices for basics left people with less flexibility for impulse or just-for-fun purchases. Things like clothing and electronics, the latter of which experienced their own pandemic-era boom and bust, piled up in stores’ back rooms and warehouses as a result, leading to deeper discounts.

Wall Street over this year has been looking for signs that retailers are leaning down their inventories, and for signs of a detente in the price-cutting wars. But even as retailers clear those unsold goods and the rate of price increases starts to slow, worries persist over higher interest rates and the return of student-loan payments.

The season this year will also mark the first time that a majority of online holiday spending, 51.2%, will be done through smartphones and other mobile devices, Pandya said, as social-media platforms and influencers exert a greater hold on the economy. That trend, he said, would make supporting mobile shopping more important for retailers.

Online discounts for toys and electronics are set to run as steep as 35% and 30%, respectively, Adobe said, with markdowns a little less aggressive for things like apparel, computers and TVs. While sales in most gift categories — like electronics, furniture and toys — are set to rise through November and December, Adobe expects clothing sales to fall 0.7% on weaker demand, along with the fact that people still tend to try on and buy clothes in stores.

Barbie toys, helped by this summer’s blockbuster film, along with Legos and iPhone 15s, will be among the hotter items this season, Adobe said. Within video games, consoles, like the PlayStation 5, will be more readily available after earlier supply-chain hangups. “Madden NFL 24” and “NBA 2K24” will likely be among the top videogame purchases, Adobe predicts.

Other top gifts include things like Birkenstocks, whose Boston clogs have fallen back into popularity, and Roombas.

“Consumers will want to grab some of these products earlier rather than later,” Pandya said.

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