Amazon Maintains First Search On Google, Gains On Retail Sites

Amazon maintains its lead over search engines when it comes to consumers deciding where to make that first search for products. Now, a study released Tuesday during Advertising Week shows the same pattern has emerged among retail Web sites, as their apps lose ground to Amazon.

In fact, 55% of consumers go to Amazon first to search for products -- up from 44% last year, according to the second annual "State of Amazon" study from BloomReach conducted by Survata. Data from the survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers during the Labor Day weekend suggest that retailers lost 16% market share and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo lost 28%.

Retailers are really feeling the heat, dropping from 21% to 19% and then 16%, said Jason Seeba, BloomReach head of marketing.

Seeba points to data collection as a major challenge for retailers because they are not able to execute on the findings. "It's a bit of a joke, but Amazon seems to drive around in a car waiting to drop off our next order," he said. "If you have the same inventory as Amazon, you're playing the wrong game."

Nine in 10 consumers compare prices on Amazon even if they find a product they want on another retailer’s site. Price-comparison shopping also works against Amazon, as 70% of consumers said they will consult another retailer before purchasing on Amazon, and 42% admit to double-checking retailers against Amazon. 

Amazon is not without its challenges. One in five consumers noted that counterfeit products are their main concern when shopping on Amazon. Some 41% said better personalization would make them more likely to buy from a retailer over Amazon, and only one in three cited Amazon’s site personalization and product recommendations as superior.

Consumer seem to slightly change their behavior during holiday shopping.When holiday shoppers know what gift they want to give, 59% will start on Amazon, 24% will start on a search engine, and 16% will start at a retailer that has that product. When holiday shoppers don’t know what gift to buy, 49% will start on Amazon, 28% will start on a search engine, and 26% will start on a retailer the gift recipient likes.

Seeba suggests that a high-quality experience on Amazon continues to drive the marketplace's success.

About 58% of U.S. consumers left a retailer's site for Amazon after having a poor experience, whereas 30% note that they had a bad site experience on Amazon that led them to shop on another retail site.

Some 53% participating in the survey felt Amazon had the best site experience overall. One in three cited Amazon’s site experience as the main reason they choose Amazon over other retailers. More than 50% distinguished Amazon’s site search and product-filtering capabilities as superior, 41% reported a retailer’s bad site-search experience caused them to shop on Amazon, and 50% left a retailer’s site when they couldn’t find a product they knew a retailer had.

Search engines attracted more consumers shopping from mobile devices, with 34% saying they turn to Google, Bing and Yahoo, first, although retailers lagged at 16%. This makes sense, because retailers try to drive consumers to download their app.

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