Amazon Search Share For Products Rises

Where do you start when searching for products to buy online?

About 43% of participants in a recent survey start with Amazon, up from 38% in December. Another 43% said they start with search engines, down from 55% in December.

Raymond James' equity research arm recently conducted an online survey of about 500 consumers to gauge their use and outlook of Internet applications, digital media, and Web sites. Some 28% of respondents use Amazon Prime and plan to keep it, up from 24% in December

A Forrester Research study released in 2012 found that 30% of online shoppers research a product on Amazon before they purchase it. The study, titled Why Amazon Matters Now More Than Ever, analyzed Amazon’s strengths and weaknesses as a search engine.

One strength, per Raymond James, is Amazon Prime. About 16% of shoppers do not have Amazon Prime today but are considering it. Only 4% of Prime users do not expect to renew their subscription, and about 52% of participants do not have and are not considering Prime, vs. 55% in December.

While Amazon is certainly gaining a following on desktops, 86% of mobile users in the survey prefer to use search engines like Google when searching for a product and service. The percentages are flat compared with the December survey.

Consumers surveyed said they use Google and Yelp most often when searching for descriptions and reviews about local stores. Some 67% of consumers prefer to use Google when researching local stores, down from 69% in December. Yelp took 39% -- down from 42% -- followed by TripAdvisor at 23%, compared with 18%, respectively, for December.

When researching home service providers, Google took 58% vs. 54% in December, followed by Yelp at 23% vs. 26%, and Angie's List at 22% vs. 25%, respectively.

The findings suggest that consumers are using Yelp more. Some 53% of respondents said they use Yelp. Out of these, 25% indicate they increased their use in the last 12 months, 12% decreased usage, and 62% maintained their usage level.


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