Google has the biggest reach of any digital property, and the majority of all US search queries start there. But product searches are switching things up as several surveys point to Amazon as the leading place to research new items.
Two-thirds of US shoppers typically start their search for new products on Amazon, according to a Feedvisor study published in March that polled respondents who have purchased from the marketplace in the past two years. By contrast, one-fifth of respondents used a search engine like Google, and just 3% looked to another marketplace.
A May 2018 Adeptmind survey found that nearly half of US internet users started product searches on Amazon, vs. a third who started with Google. And this is not a new development—a September 2016 survey from BloomReach found that 55% of respondents ages 13 and older said Amazon was the first channel they used when researching products digitally. This trumped the 28% who first researched using search engines.
“Google was the early leader in product searches by virtue of its dominance in all types of search behavior,” said eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman. “But with Amazon now deeply ingrained into internet user habits, it has emerged as the primary destination for product searches when users are looking for specific items. Wide product selection, easy checkout and available ratings and reviews create a positive feedback loop that only encourages more product searching over time.”
Brands and retailers tasked with turning product searches into sales should do so with Amazon in mind. Some 74% of Feedvisor respondents said they go to Amazon when they are 'ready to buy' a specific product online. While "ready to buy" is somewhat ambiguous, this likely refers to consumers who find themselves at beginning of their product discovery journey. The survey also found that 54% of respondents said they are more likely to purchase products from Amazon than other ecommerce sites.
We forecast that US advertisers will spend $11.33 billion on Amazon’s platform this year, a 53% increase over 2018. That number is expected to reach more than $15 billion by 2020, and account for nearly 10% of total US digital ad spending.
Armed with the knowledge of Amazon's audience size and power, advertisers have been enticed to increase spending on the platform. Amazon also allows advertisers to target consumers based on real shopping and buying data.
“There's efficacy in brands having a virtual presence online under their own dot-com and a similar experience with Amazon,” said Mike Sands, co-founder and CEO of location-based services firm Signal.
A September 2018 survey from Feedvisor found that 45% of US brand respondents said they weren't selling products on Amazon. Those products were likely being sold by a third party, but a dual strategy could help brands also take control of Amazon's product page.