More than half of consumers start their shopping on Amazon

Steven Loeb · September 28, 2016 · Short URL:

While Amazon has a clear advantage, there is an opening for retailers to capture some of the market

Think about this: when you do your shopping online, where's the first place you go to look? 

If you're like the majority of the people in the United States, the answer is now Amazon, according to a report out from cloud marketing platform BloomReach. 

The company surveyed 2,000 customers in the U.S. over Labor Day weekend, and found that 55 percent of them said that they begin their product searches at Amazon, up from 44 percent in 2015. That's a 25 percent swing in just a year. 

It also means that search engines and retailers had to take a hit. For search engines, 28 percent of consumers said that they go their first, down from 34 percent last year. Only 16 percent go straight to the retailer websites, down from 21 percent in 2015.

The numbers were pretty close on mobile, though Google does have a better standing: 50 percent saying they go to Amazon first, while 34 percent said they use search engines. Again, only 16 percent go straight to the retailer sites. 

Even when Amazon doesn't come first, it still remains competitive, thanks to comparison shopping. A full 90 percent of respondents said they will go to Amazon, even if they want to the retailer first, to see if they can get a better price. Of those who do this, 78 percent said they do it "often or always."

On the other hand, 70 percent said they do the opposite, meaning go to a retailer's site if they find something on Amazon first. Only 52 percent said they did this often or always. That's a pretty big disparity.

The numbers also show that retailers have a harder time hanging on to customers, more than half of whom, 58 percent, said they have left for Amazon due to a bad experience. For Amazon, that number is only 30 percent. 

So, is all lost for those retailers trying to go up against Amazon? Of course not! The company has its issues too.

Only a third said that Amazon had better personalization and recommendations than retailers, and over 40 percent said they'd go a retailer if they improved their personalization (note to retailers: improve your personalization!)

The other big issue for Amazon is that success can be a double-edged sword. Yes, it's the dominant player, but people know that, and they don't want to necessarily support such a big company. In fact, 20 percent of those asked in the survey said they were worried about the effect that Amazon was having on those other retailers. 

In the end, yes, Amazon does have a growing lead on its competitors, but there's also an opening for them, if they give people better recommendations and a better overall experience. 

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