A new study by BloomReach has found that Amazon’s dominance of the e-commerce industry could be explained by one overwhelming trend: when looking for a specific product, 44% of American consumers go directly to Amazon to search for the item, instead of starting with a search engine like Google or Bing.
In fact, the study found that only 34% of consumers start with Google, Bing, or Yahoo! when looking for a product. Only 21% of consumers start with a specific retailer; 9% start with Walmart and 8% start with eBay.
This is a pretty substantial increase from 2012, when Forrester found that 30% of consumers go directly to Amazon to purchase a product; it’s even higher than last year, when 39% of consumers told Forrester they begin their browsing at the shopping behemoth.
The interesting trend here is that Amazon seems to be taking the place of a search engine when it comes to product research and purchases — but it isn’t endangering search engines very much, if at all. Instead, it’s putting independent retailers in a precarious position, since those Google and Bing search results pages aren’t bringing in as many customers as they once did, as GeekWire noted.
Online shopping has turned from a trend into a lifestyle in the past decade or so; it’s estimated that around 1.2 billion people worldwide will make an online purchase by the end of 2015, and by 2018, there could be as many as 125 billion online transactions per year.
As VentureBeat reported, the majority (86%) of retail marketers believe that personalizing an online search is a top factor when bringing customers to their sites; personalization technology is something that Google has used successfully, but not nearly as well as Amazon has managed to do.
Down to the smallest details, like offering a two-hour free delivery service in certain cities, Amazon’s service is much more personal.
The question now isn’t whether more consumers will begin shopping through Amazon; the question is whether independent retailers will begin working with Amazon to make their items more accessible.