More Americans are shopping online this holiday season, and they are mostly shopping at Amazon, with 76% of online shoppers saying they would do most of their shopping on Amazon, according to CNBC's All-America Economic Survey.
Walmart came in second, according to that research, but with only 8% of online shoppers saying they would mostly stick to the retail giant's website, according to the report. More than a quarter (28%) are mostly frequenting stores, CNBC found. Other retailers fall close behind Walmart, according to the report.
CNBC said 45% of consumers surveyed were shopping mostly online for gifts this year — five percentage points more than last year and more than twice the number a decade ago, according to the report. Only 12% of Americans said they were doing all or most of their holiday shopping at local or small-business retailers, the lowest level in six years, according to CNBC.
Amazon is clearly dominating among online shoppers. A great majority (65%) of Americans shopping online turn to Amazon "always or most of the time," and that has risen "sharply" each of the past two years, according to the CNBC report.
Online shopping probably wouldn’t dominate so much without free shipping. Some 43% of consumers told CNBC free shipping was the most important piece of the online experience.
Along with free shipping, 26% of consumers are turning to e-commerce because it’s so easy to compare prices, and 18% go for the ease of finding product information, CNBC found. While such searching generally leads to an actual purchase just 3% of the time, Amazon handily beats that, with 57% of those searching on Amazon buying something, according to the report.
Walmart has worked hard to boost its online sales and has seen much traction since its acquisition of Jet last year, as well as the purchase of a slew of online specialty retailers like Modcloth and Bonobos. It's also worked to make it easier to pick up online orders at its many stores.
But Walmart’s much lower online penetration compared to Amazon may be found in its customer base. A 2015 survey of more than 4,000 consumers conducted by consulting firm Kantar Retail revealed that the average Walmart customer is a white, 50-year-old woman with an annual household income of $53,125. Meanwhile, just a fifth of Americans who frequently shop online have incomes of $30,000 or less, while 62% make $100,000 or more, according to CNBC’s research.