Online Retailers Aren’t on 2022 Holiday Wish Lists

E-commerce stocks have struggled this year, and plenty of investors are doubtful the holiday shopping season will provide a catalyst to turn things around.

Online retailers such as Wayfair Inc. and Etsy Inc. already are under pressure from the loss of pandemic-era tailwinds and economic weakness weighing on consumer sentiment. Now, some analysts are fretting that high inventories will spur sites to offer big discounts to move merchandise, weighing on earnings at a time when investors are focused on profitability.

Adobe Analytics expects US online holiday sales to increase 2.5% this year, slower than 2021’s 8.6% pace. The shopping season gets an unofficial kickoff Tuesday with Inc.’s two-day “early access” sale, though Target Corp. has already started weekly Black Friday deals.