- From 2015 to 2018, Amazon surpassed Google for product searches, according to a report from Jumpshot released this week. The two tech giants switched places with Amazon growing from 46% to 54% and Google declining from 54% to 46%.
- Nearly 90% of Amazon's product views come from the company's own product search and not from advertising, merchandising, or product aggregators, the report said.
- With an 80% market share in many categories, there's little room available for Amazon to increase its share, while Walmart, from a smaller market share base, is growing three-and-a-half times faster than Amazon, Jumpshot said. However, Amazon has room to grow — or be challenged — in certain categories, like women's clothing where it has a 42% share, furniture where its share is 47%, and beauty products where is has a 72% share.
In the span of three years, people have shifted from using Google more for product searches to Amazon, and Walmart is increasing its e-commerce market share faster than Amazon.
"Amazon's dominance has really set it apart as the default place for product search, encroaching on Google's territory," said Deren Baker, CEO of Jumpshot, in a press release. "They have started to leverage that strength with more sponsored placements, making billions on their product search even while their market share plateaus."
Meanwhile, Walmart got off to a late start so it is building from a much lower base than Amazon, but is rapidly diversifying its offerings far beyond what it sells in stores. For instance, it has established a marketplace described as a "web mall" that includes unlikely retail partners like Lord & Taylor.
The Jumpshot numbers were reflected in recent research from Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient which found that 87% of shoppers now begin their product searches in digital channels, up from 71% in 2017. But a Survata study reported that Amazon slipped in initial product searches, from 55% in 2016 to 49% at the end of 2017. The Jumpshot study was for the second quarter of 2018.
Google is now prioritizing the search results of retailers for a fee. Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Costco and Ulta Beauty are among the first to participate in Google's Shopping Actions program, which will also allow search results to link to the retailers' loyalty programs. Google will get a percentage of the purchases made through those links.
Google and Amazon have been duking it out on other fronts, notably share of the smart speaker market, where Amazon dominates, but Google is growing rapidly. Video is another battleground where Google is looking to establish its YouTube and YouTube TV services versus Amazon Prime Video, and Walmart is reported to be considering its own video streaming service. In response, Amazon has been withholding search results for Google Home, and Google pulled YouTube from Amazon video services. Apple has yet to enter the fray.
The key to Amazon views is search result placement, the Jumpshot report said. For example, the number 4 product spot gets more views — 7% of clicks — than the number 2 and 3 ranked positions — 5.7% and 5.2%, according to Jumpshot. Sixty-five percent of all clicks on products were from the first page of the Amazon listings, and 36% were from rows 1 and 2 from the search results.
The Jumpshot report also showed that it takes longer to complete a purchase on Amazon than Google. While 35% of Google searches resulted in a transaction within five days, only 20% of Amazon searches had similar outcomes. For all categories, Amazon averaged 25.9 days from search to purchase, while Google's timeframe was shorter, 19.6 days.