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Consumers Start Holiday Product Searches On Google And Amazon

December 17, 2020 Sarah Cavill

In a year when online shopping and ecommerce have provided consumers with so many of the products they need, how consumers search for what they want helps advertisers understand consumer behavior and how best to engage consumers actively shopping. In an eMarketer article about consumer search preferences this holiday season, a survey from ChannelAdvisor conducted by Dynata found that consumers were comfortable searching on search engines and marketplaces with Google and Amazon making strong showings.

Google And Social Media Platforms Are Popular For Product Searches And Research

Google commands more than 88% of the overall search market, making it an obvious option for product searches. In fact, 45% of those surveyed turned to Google for product research this year, and 23% use search engines for product searches when looking to buy. Google leaned into their shopping and product features this year, making upgrades to “nearby search” and creating new custom audience settings for better targeting. Other marketplaces and brand websites were also used by searchers looking to buy, while social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram were go-to platforms for holiday gift research.

People Are Beginning Their Product Searches On Amazon

Shutterstock_725736175 CHIANG MAI,THAILAND - OCT 01, 2017 : iPhone 6s showing Amazon logo and credit card shopping online. Amazon.com, Inc. American international electronic commerce company.

“53% of U.S. adults said they began product searches at Amazon when planning to make a digital purchase,” found the ChannelAdvisor and Dynata survey. The finding correlates with plans by shoppers to depend heavily on Amazon this holiday season, with 65% of U.S. adults surveyed intending to research the majority of their holiday gifts on Amazon. The massive ecommerce retailer has been a huge beneficiary of the shift to online shopping in 2020, with sales increasing nearly 40% year over year, so it appears the searches launched by consumers on Amazon also often lead to consumers making purchases on Amazon.

Additionally, according to survey results, the majority of shoppers aren’t bothered by ads on Amazon, with Prime shoppers and younger consumers occasional exceptions. “Research also continues to find that, for the most part, consumers are fine with the ad experience on Amazon — despite the fact that sponsored listings and other non-organic results continue to take up ever more real estate on the first search results page,” said Nicole Perrin, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. 

Digital Advertisers Should Think About How Consumers Start Searches In 2 Different Ways

Search can be a bellwether for brands to understand what matters to consumers, from haircare products to toys for a new puppy. People search, and ultimately buy what moves them and what they need, and advertisers that are listening may find shoppers and conversions with those audiences. But how can digital advertisers best tap into search trends and data?

For starters, digital advertisers must recognize where consumers are starting their product searches right now. If Google and Amazon are where consumers start, that’s where digital advertisers need to be. Influencing the beginning of the research comparison shopping phases of shopping can be incredibly impactful for driving actual sales.

Secondly, digital advertisers should be considering how they can encourage searches to start elsewhere, a place more biased and more likely to lead to desired actions and purchases. While Google and Amazon earn the majority of early shopping searches today, other mobile apps – including, for example, Walmart, Target, Wayfair, Kroger and Zappos – bring in their share of early search traffic. Likewise, websites with strong brand awareness for specific product niches can shortcut the research and conversion process.

For digital advertisers, the key to winning is understanding the game. Knowing the who, what, when, where and why are all essential to defining a strategy and setting up for the win.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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