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Online discounts for merchandise are forecast to hit a record level this holiday shopping season, according to Adobe Analytics, in a potential treat for bargain hunters that should help keep American consumer spending ticking higher through the period.

Shoppers could seize upon discounts of as much as 32 per cent on computers, 27 per cent on electronics goods and 22 per cent on toys, Adobe estimates, on their way to spending almost $210bn online during the holiday season, which runs from November 1 till the end of the year.

The discounts, a function of retailers attempting to shed excess inventory, are expected to arrive earlier this autumn, in a slight twist on traditional spending patterns. Helping propel that trend, ecommerce giant Amazon kicks off its second Prime Day sale this year on Tuesday.

“The shape of the holiday season will look different this year, with early discounting in October pulling up spend that would have occurred around Cyber Week,” said Patrick Brown, vice-president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe.

A worker at an Amazon distribution facility in Staten Island, New York. The ecommerce giant kicks off its second Prime Day sale this year on Tuesday © Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

As a result, Cyber Week sales — the period of Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday — are expected to rise just 2.8 per cent from a year ago to $34.8bn, Adobe estimates. That would represent a 16.3 per cent share of holiday season spending, down from 16.6 per cent in 2021.

Adobe forecasts US online holiday sales of $209.7bn from November 1 to December 31, a 2.5 per cent increase from a year ago. Holiday season spending is expected to be affected by inflation, the rising cost of borrowing, and earlier discounts.

Retailers have been saddled with excess inventory in recent months, as consumers shift their spending patterns in response to persistently high inflation.

Businesses have started discounting items to move units, meaning consumers have been able to find more discounts during the year, not just during cyber week.