Chances are you’ll either buy a gift from Amazon this holiday season, or at least search for a product on Amazon.com.
A study by software company Episerver finds that more consumers search for products on Amazon than Google and that 42% of online shoppers expect to buy holiday gifts on Amazon.com. Another study from data company Profitero reports that products in key categories are selling on Amazon for 20% less on average than other online retailers.
Episerver surveyed more than 4,500 shoppers around the world. Almost one-third of online shoppers start their holiday shopping on Amazon, followed by Google. Sixty-eight percent of online shoppers often or always compare what they find on a brand or website to what’s available on Amazon.
Seattle-based Amazon, though, does have its weaknesses, says Ed Kennedy, senior director of ecommerce at Episerver.
“Despite priding itself on customer-obsession, Amazon still lacks in areas like product education, inspirational content and fanatical customer service,” Kennedy says. “There's incredible opportunity for retailers to differentiate by providing customer-centric digital experiences that mirror face-to-face interaction.”
The Profitero report found that prices at Walmart are 4.1% more expensive, on average, compared to Amazon. At Target, they are 10.6% more expensive.
Profitero noted that products at category specialists including Best Buy, Staples and Dick’s Sporting Goods were significantly more expensive than on Amazon. Profitero compared daily prices on 12,500 products across 20 retailers.
However, the study pointed out that price is only one part of the strategy employed by big-box retailers.
“Category specialists appear to have entirely abandoned item-by-item price competition. Instead, they are competing on value beyond price, offering memberships, personalized services, personalized promotions and private label products consumers can’t find elsewhere,” says Keith Anderson, Profitero’s senior vice president of product strategy. “This is the recipe for how retailers – and even brands selling direct-to-consumer – can compete long term in this age of algorithmic-driven pricing.”
Last year, Amazon announced that it had a “record-breaking” holiday season, though the annual announcement didn’t reveal many numbers. The company said it sold “millions more” Amazon devices compared to the 2017 holidays, and also said it sold a “record number of smart home devices.”