- About 55% of shoppers turn to Amazon first when searching for products online, roughly 11% more than did so a year ago, according to a survey of 2,000 consumers earlier this month commissioned by personalization platform firm BloomReach and conducted by Survata.
- Major internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo are seeing their share of initial product searches decline, the survey found. Search engines were used as the starting point in product searches by 28% of those surveyed, declining from 34% a year earlier.
- Retailers also gave ground to Amazon in initial shopper product searches: As a group, they garnered only 16% of first searches, down about 5% from a year ago.
A similar survey from BloomReach and Survata earlier this year showed Amazon's share of first searches already had grown to 53%, so can we say the silver lining here is that Amazon's progress drawing initial searches is slowing down? Eh, probably not.
It would be surprising if any retailers or search engines were caught off-guard by these survey results, however. Amazon has become the default shopping search engine, and that's nothing new, even if its share of first searches has just this year nudged past 50%. Its dominance in recent years is probably what has driven search engines and retailers to improve their own product search capabilities through investment in innovations like artificial intelligence (which was key to Etsy's recent acquisition of Blackbird Technologies), machine learning (an important aspect of Macy's Watson-powered virtual assistant) and personalization and localization (which Google's trying to do more of.)
Other findings from the survey include the stat that about 90% of shoppers who find a product on another retailer's website will still check Amazon for the same product anyway. On the bright side for other retailers, about 70% of consumers said they check product information on other retailers' sites before purchasing on Amazon.
The survey also said that about 50% of starting-point product searches on mobile occurred on on Amazon's site or through its mobile app. Search engines garnered a higher percentage of first searches via mobile, registering 34%, but retailers remained stuck at 16%. Still, 78% said they have a retailer mobile app, and 82% of that group have a retailer mobile app that doesn't have Amazon's name on it.
Despite one or two positive notes, there isn't much in this survey for retailers to be happy about, especially as the holiday shopping season begins. The BloomReach survey results concluded by suggesting there are ways for retailers to fight back against Amazon's product search dominance by leveraging personalization solutions like the type offered by (wait for it...) BloomReach.