Adobe Digital Economy Index: Prices for domestic flights jump 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels

Adobe Digital Economy Index: Prices for domestic flights jump 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels

Consumer demand for air travel picks up, and Palm Springs is a top domestic travel destination.

The Adobe Digital Economy Index continues to track new data on US domestic flight bookings online to gain insights on the airline industry’s recovery. We provide the most comprehensive report of its kind, measuring direct consumer transactions from six of the top 10 US airlines and over 150 billion web visits, to report on online spend, booking growth, pricing trends, and top destinations domestically.

Domestic flight bookings in March 2022 drove $8.8 billion in online spend, a significant 28% increase over 2019 levels (compared to March 2019 spend) before the pandemic. This represents a 32% increase from the month prior (February 2022, $6.6 billion), where spend had been 6% above 2019 levels. In the first three months of 2022, consumers have spent a total of $21 billion in domestic flights online. As a reference point, in all of 2021, $56 billion was spent.

Flight prices spiking

As demand picks up, prices have spiked. In March 2022, flight prices were 20% higher compared to 2019 levels (and 15% higher month-over-month). Compare this with February 2022, where prices were 5% higher than 2019 levels. In January 2022, prices were 3% lower than 2019 levels.

Inflation in ticket prices is now having a greater impact on consumer purchasing power. While online spend in March 2022 is up 28% from 2019 levels, actual bookings are up just 12%. On a month-over-month basis, online spend in March 2022 is up 32%, while bookings are up just 15%.

“Consumers have seen online prices for physical goods rise now for 22 consecutive months, per the Adobe Digital Price Index, and inflation is becoming more prominent for services as well,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst with Adobe Digital Insights. “The unleash of pent-up demand has been a major driving factor, as the desire for air travel is coming back more aggressively than anticipated.”

Looking ahead

Based on arrival sites, the top 10 domestic destinations (based on lift, not volume) for those traveling from April to May 2022 include:

Looking farther out, domestic bookings for summer travel (June 2022 to August 2022) are picking up — online spend is up 8% compared to the same period in 2019, while bookings are up by 3%. Memorial Day weekend is not seeing the same uptick — online spend is down 6% from 2019, while bookings are down by 12%.

Methodology: The Adobe Digital Economy Index offers the most comprehensive set of insights of its kind, based on analysis through Adobe Analytics that covers over 150 billion visits to travel, leisure, and hospitality sites — measuring transactions from six of the top 10 US airlines (more than any other technology company).