Amazon Set to Dominate 2016 Holiday Shopping

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Amazon Set to Dominate 2016 Holiday Shopping

By CGT Staff - 09/27/2016
Ahead of the critical 2016 holiday season, where e-commerce is predicted to grow 13.6 percent, a new study from personalization platform company BloomReach, conducted by Survata, found that Amazon has grown its lead as the place where consumers first search for products. Now, 55 percent of consumers turn to Amazon first when searching for products online.
 
The second-annual "State of Amazon" study, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers over Labor Day weekend, found that search engines and retailers lost almost equal ground, coming in at 28 percent and 16 percent respectively. Amazon increased its share by 11 percent in one year following BloomReach's inaugural "State of Amazon" study.
 
The e-commerce giant has steadily increased its product-search lead throughout the year. BloomReach also conducted a mid-year survey of 2,000 consumers in April, revealing Amazon had 53 percent of consumers' first product search, with 27 percent for search engines and 19 percent for retailers.
 
The 2016 "State of Amazon" study also found that Amazon is often involved in almost all online shopping activities. Approximately 9 in 10 consumers will check Amazon even if they find a product they want on another retailer's site, with 78 percent of those consumers indicating that happened often or always. However, comparison-shopping also worked against Amazon, as 70 percent of consumers said they'll consult another retailer before purchasing on Amazon. However, only 52 percent indicated they always or often double-checked retailers against Amazon. 
 
"Amazon continues to be the first destination when consumers want to find a product, driven largely by a perceived superior end-to-end experience. Online shopping is all about relevance and convenience, and comparison shopping has never been easier – especially with mobile growth," said Jason Seeba, BloomReach head of marketing. "However, while online retailers increasingly feel the pinch, search engines still play an integral part of an e-commerce strategy. This study highlights that just because consumers start on Amazon, that doesn't mean they ultimately buy from Amazon. Instead, they're often comparing and researching products on search engines and other retailers."
 
This year, "The State of Amazon" study also analyzed consumer shopping behaviors on mobile devices, a channel that is driving more than half of all traffic to top sites and has grown to 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce. While Amazon (mobile site or app) still commanded 50 percent of consumers' first stop for products on mobile, search engines fared better with 34 percent, with retailers lagging at 16 percent. BloomReach found that 76 percent of consumers shop on their smartphone, with 90 percent of them reporting that they've made a purchase on a smartphone. Other notable findings among those who shop on smartphones included:

•Nearly 50 percent shop on a smartphone weekly.
•92 percent say smartphone shopping can influence a purchase decision.
•52 percent say smartphone shopping often or always supports a purchase.
•53 percent are more comfortable buying on a smartphone relative to last year.
•88 percent will use a smartphone to assist shopping in stores.
•78 percent have a retailer mobile app, with 82 percent of those having a retailer app that isn't Amazon.
 
With the core of the 2016 holiday shopping season fast approaching – a critical time for retailers – the "State of Amazon" study also provides the first look into holiday-shopping behavior.  By Labor Day weekend, 42 percent of consumers had started gift shopping, and of the remaining majority who hadn't, 61 percent will start on or before Black Friday. A majority plan to do more than 50 percent of their holiday shopping online.
 
An astonishing 94 percent plan to shop on the Amazon this holiday season. In addition, consumers seem to view Amazon not only as a place to buy gifts, but also as a place to get gift ideas:

•When holiday shoppers know what gift they want: 59 percent will start on Amazon, 24 percent will start on a search engine, and 16 percent will start at a retailer that has that product.
•When holiday shoppers don't know what gift to buy: 49 percent will start on Amazon, 28 percent will start on a search engine, and 26 percent will start on a retailer the gift recipient likes.
 
Amazon's performance relative to other retailers has caught the attention of some consumers as well. An overwhelming majority of U.S. consumers recognize Amazon as the dominant player in e-commerce currently, and the "State of Amazon" study revealed that nearly one in five consumers was concerned about the company's dominance relative to other retailers.
 
Ensuring high-quality site experiences continues to be a prime reason why shoppers pick their retailers of choice. Approximately 58 percent of U.S. consumers noted they've left a retailer's site for Amazon after having a poor experience. This stands in stark contrast to the reverse scenario. Only 30 percent of consumers noted a bad site experience on Amazon had led them to shop with another retailer. Site-experience issues – especially those related to site search and product discovery – often were the reasons why consumers turned to Amazon:

•53 percent 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 percent distinguished Amazon's site search and product-filtering capabilities as superior.
•41 percent reported a retailer's bad site-search experience caused them to shop on Amazon.
•50 percent have left a retailer's site when they couldn't find a product they knew a retailer carried.
 
However, the study did highlight some bright spots for retailers and opportunities to gain back market share.
•Approximately one in five noted counterfeit products are their main concern with Amazon
•41 percent said better personalization would make them more likely to buy from a retailer over Amazon.
•Only one in three cited Amazon's site personalization and product recommendations as superior.
 
The full 2016 "State of Amazon" report is available for download at www.bloomreach.com/amazon.