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More Product Searches Start on Amazon

Google is losing its grip on valuable search data

Google might leave Bing and Yahoo in the dust for visits, but the popular search engine has been losing some shine as the go-to platform for product search. 

A number of consumer surveys have shown that more US digital shoppers now start their searches on Amazon. Nearly half (46.7%) of US internet users started product searches on Amazon compared with 34.6% who went to Google first, according to a May 2018 Adeptmind survey. And the leading method among digital shoppers in the US surveyed by Salsify in February 2018 was searching and buying on Amazon (41%) followed by searching on Google then buying on Amazon (28%). 

This is also the case, according to Q2 2018 Jumpshot analysis of multi-device traffic on its platform. In 2015, Google had 54% share of product searches and 46% belonged to Amazon. By 2018, these figures had reversed. 

However, shoppers searching on Amazon took longer to make a purchase than those who searched on Google. On average, 25.9 days spanned search to purchase on Amazon while for Google it was 19.6. Most bought an item within five days, though more (35%) purchased in this time frame using Google than Amazon (19%).

This behavior can probably be explained by Amazon being used as a product research resource. Shoppers can read extensive user reviews, Q&As and look at photos, but they aren't necessarily looking to buy immediately, whereas a Google product search could be from a shopper who already knows what they want. 

It's helpful to see that this buying behavior, and search results can also inform marketing and merchandising strategy. "Amazon is starting to trump Google in the amount of consumers that begin their search for merchandise there. Amazon has that data now—they get the first bite of the apple," said Mike Sands, co-founder and CEO of location-based services firm Signal.

This shift could hurt retailers that use product search data from Google for bidding and driving site traffic. Wes MacLaggan, senior vice president of marketing at ad management platform Marin Software, cautioned against ignoring Amazon.  Marketers need to be aware of how their products are positioned on Amazon and the messaging they use."

Search result placement on Amazon is key. More than two-thirds of product clicks happen on the first page of Amazon's search results, according to Jumpshot, with one-third occurring on the first two rows displayed.