Consumers continue to turn to Amazon first for product search

Every year, Google handles more than a trillion search queries, making it the world’s most popular search engine. But when it comes to searches related to products, Google is not numero uno.

According to analysts at financial services firm Raymond James, that distinction belongs to Amazon, which now has a commanding lead over Google and search engines in general as the place consumers turn first to research product information.

Raymond James’ analysts estimated that in December, 52% of product searches took place on Amazon, compared to 26% on search engines, including Google. This is a dramatic shift compared to December 2014, when Raymond James’ analysis saw 55% of product searches taking place on search engines and 28% taking place on Amazon.

The analysis doesn’t take into account app traffic, and was based on data from Google Trends, so it’s probably fair to question the precision of the percentages, but the overall conclusion is in line with past studies that have found Google losing ground to Amazon when it comes to product search.

For instance, a 2016 survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by PowerReviews found that Amazon was the preferred first choice for product search. And a 2015 BloomReach study found the same thing.

The impact on marketers

Raymond James’ analysis suggests that Amazon’s popularity as consumers’ go-to provider for product search continues to increase, which is a significant trend that marketers should not ignore.

First, it highlights a fact that many marketers might not find very comforting: if their products aren’t on Amazon, they don’t exist to the growing number of consumers who are using Amazon and not Google to discover and research products.

That could be particularly discomforting to brands that aim to sell their products directly or through channels other than Amazon.

Second, it raises the importance of Amazon reviews. These can be critical to visibility and sales on Amazon, and while a growing number of marketers have become adept at monitoring what’s being said about their brands on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Amazon reviews are a new frontier for many of them.

Finally, Amazon’s rise as the most popular destination for product search should cause marketers to rethink their paid search campaigns.

To be sure, paid Google search isn’t going away as there’s still a significant amount of product searches taking place on the world’s largest search engine, but marketers who are underinvesting in Amazon Marketing Services – or ignoring it entirely – will increasingly be missing out on opportunities to reach the consumers they need to reach.

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Image shows: Snapshots of the mobile homepages of Walmart.com, Tesco.com and Lidl.de.