Majority Of Shoppers Using Amazon To Search For Products, Even If They Buy Elsewhere

Image courtesy of Alan Rappa

For years we’ve talked about “showrooming” — the practice of going to a bricks-and-mortar retailer just to look at a product you intend to buy online, and now Amazon has apparently supplanted traditional search engines as the place for most Americans to begin their product hunt.

Bloomberg reports on a recent survey from BloomReach, which found that 55% of 2,000 people surveyed visit Amazon first when searching for products, while 28% of shoppers turn to search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, as a starting point.

The number of people window-shopping, if you will, on Amazon represents an 11% increase over the same survey results in 2015.

“Amazon has become the reference point for shoppers,” Jason Seeba, head of marketing for BloomReach, tells Bloomberg. “Shoppers will go to Amazon first to find a product and check prices.”

Last year, 44% of consumers began product searches with Amazon, while 34% started with search engines.

Trips to physical retailers for browsing and comparison shopping continues to decline, the survey found, with just 16% of shoppers making trips to big box stores or mall, down from 21% last year.

Those rates aren’t exactly welcome news for retailers like Walmart and Target, which have struggled in recent years to compete with Amazon.

Still, Walmart’s recent $3 billion purchase of Jet.com could propel the company toward a more even playing field. The retailer also this year launched a $50/year free-shipping option called ShippingPass, to compete with Amazon’s $99/year (or $10/month) Prime membership that includes free two-day shipping on thousands of products.

But ShippingPass and the addition of Jet.com to its portfolio might not be enough to help Walmart move past Amazon’s appeal, analysts says, noting that the e-commerce giant continues to add “layers” to its services.

“Prime members have the Amazon app on the front screen of their smartphones. That definitely hurts Walmart,” John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen & Co. Blackledge, told Bloomberg.

More Than 50% of Shoppers Turn First to Amazon in Product Search [Bloomberg]