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Amazon-Only Shoppers on the Rise

But in-store visits aren’t shrinking

Amazon continues to infiltrate more product categories and grow its Prime membership base. But just how much influence does the ecommerce giant have? 

According to PwC's "2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey," which covers 27 countries worldwide, "The age of Amazon continues." 

This year, 59% of respondents said they have shopped on Amazon. That's an increase of 3 percentage points from a year prior. 

But some of their shopping behavior has changed. One in five Amazon shoppers in 2018's poll said their behavior is not influenced by Amazon. And, interestingly, behaviors like checking prices on Amazon (41%) and starting product searches on the platform (36%) went down year over year. 

The only activity that grew was shopping exclusively on Amazon, from 10% in 2017 to 14% this year. While that may still seem like a small figure, the rise is certainly notable. 

Despite Amazon’s still-growing presence—and that of digital commerce generally—retail ecommerce sales will make up just 11.9% of total retail sales worldwide in 2018, eMarketer estimates. 

In the PwC survey, 44% of this year's respondents said they bought products in-store at least weekly, up from 36% in 2015. By comparison, 20% of 2018 shoppers bought once per week on desktops, 12% on tablets and 17% on mobile phones. It’s possible that the efforts brick-and-mortar retailers have made over the past few years to entice shoppers are starting to pay off. 

On Tuesday, home goods store West Elm expanded its Local Experiences program, which offers workshops with local artisans like a textile artist in Savannah or a metalsmith in Austin. Last year, Saks Fifth Avenue launched The Wellery, a pop-up spa that took over a whole floor at its New York flagship, and Nordstrom debuted the Nordstrom Local concept store, where customers can order drinks, get manicures and pick up online orders—but not buy on the spot.

Channels are also blurring in retail partnerships with online-only brands. Target now carries Casper mattresses, and ColourPop, a low-cost cosmetics company, began selling select items at Sephora in the fall and at Ulta Beauty in February 2018. High-consideration items, like mattresses, and $6 lip glosses can both benefit from shoppers testing them out in-person. 

In an International Data Corporation (IDC) survey of retail professionals in North America from last November, the top two tactics for responding to changes in consumer behavior were increasing “only available in-store” promotions and merchandise (19%), and using classes, demonstrations or events to make stores more attractive (18%).