Half of Product Searches Begin on Amazon: New Survey Reveals Online Shopping Habits

Amazon dominates, but ratings and reviews, search engines, and brand websites all play key roles in the online shopping journey.

When it comes to online shopping, Amazon has long been the undisputed heavyweight champion. But a recent survey reveals a surprising exception – Generation Z. These tech-savvy youngsters are turning to Google as their go-to starting point for online purchases, edging out Amazon by a narrow margin.

The study, conducted by PowerReviews, highlights the significant role ratings and reviews, search engines, and brand websites play in today’s online shopping journey. With nearly all consumers relying heavily on online research before making a purchase, businesses need to ensure their visibility on relevant platforms at critical moments when shoppers are exploring and buying products.

Amazon Still on Top, But Gen Z Shakes Things Up

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers. According to the survey, a staggering 50% of respondents said they begin their online shopping journey on Amazon. That’s half of all shoppers right there. Google secured second place, with 31.5% of people opting to start their search on the world’s most popular search engine. Retail or brand websites accounted for 14% of initial searches, while review websites and social media each captured a modest 2%.

However, there’s a twist when it comes to Generation Z. Google emerged as the top choice for these young consumers, with 38% starting their shopping journey there, while Amazon trailed slightly behind at 36%. Additionally, Gen Z proved to be the most likely group to kick off their online hunt on social media platforms, with 5% of respondents favoring this avenue.

The Power of Reviews and Ratings

It’s no secret that ratings and reviews hold significant sway over purchase decisions. In fact, they can make or break a sale, surpassing other crucial factors such as product price, free shipping, or easy returns. The survey findings affirm the importance of leveraging customer feedback to drive sales.

An impressive 77% of respondents admitted that they actively seek out websites with reviews. This number skyrocketed even higher among Gen Z, with a whopping 87% considering reviews essential before making a purchase. Millennials weren’t far behind, with 81% valuing this aspect.

Interestingly, ratings without accompanying reviews are viewed as untrustworthy by 56% of survey participants. This highlights the significance of both quantitative ratings and qualitative feedback from actual customers.

Where Reviews Matter Most

Let’s explore where consumers turn to find reviews and ratings. Amazon takes the lead in this category, with a staggering 94% of respondents revealing that they consult reviews on the e-commerce giant’s platform. Following closely behind are retail websites like Target and Walmart, which garnered a trust score of 91%. Search engines such as Google, known for their vast knowledge base, earned the trust of 70% of consumers. Brand websites, the online hubs of the companies that manufacture the products, came in fourth place at 68%. Independent review sites also played a role, although to a lesser extent, with 40% of respondents seeking insights from these platforms.

The Value of User-Generated Visuals

In the age of social media and visual content, it’s no surprise that user-generated photos and videos hold significant value for consumers. The survey found that 60% of shoppers actively seek out user-generated images or videos when researching new products. What’s more, an impressive 77% of respondents expressed their trust in customer-generated visuals.

The influence of user-generated content extends beyond trust-building, as 53% of participants stated that previous customers’ photos and videos impact their purchase decisions. These visuals offer a glimpse into real-world experiences with products, giving potential buyers a tangible sense of what to expect.

The Role of Search Engines, Particularly Google

Search engine giant Google not only dominates in terms of market share but also plays a crucial role in shaping consumer decisions. A staggering 56% of respondents revealed that they consider search results, particularly on Google and other search engines when making purchase choices. In addition, search engine results are a go-to resource for learning about products that shoppers haven’t previously purchased. 63% of respondents use search engine results for this purpose, indicating the significant influence of search engines in the research phase.

Half of the survey participants, 50%, expressed trust in search engine results when making purchase decisions. This underscores the importance of optimizing online content to rank well in search engine results and gain consumer trust.

The Takeaway: Amazon Remains King, but Competition Looms

Despite Gen Z’s shift towards Google, Amazon still reigns supreme as the primary product search engine for the majority of consumers. The e-commerce giant’s dominance is a force to be reckoned with, and businesses must prioritize their Amazon presence to tap into its enormous customer base.

However, the survey findings highlight the evolving nature of online shopping behavior. With younger generations embracing alternative platforms like Google and social media, businesses should diversify their digital marketing efforts to reach and engage these new audiences effectively.

Survey Methodology

Power Reviews conducted the survey in March 2023, gathering responses from 8,153 consumers across the United States. The sample was predominantly composed of millennials, accounting for 53% of respondents, followed by Gen X at 29%, Baby Boomers at 10%, and Gen Z at 8%. For more detailed insights, you can refer to the full results of PowerReviews’ survey titled “The Ever-Growing Power of Reviews (2023 Edition).”

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