Most Online Shoppers Buy on Amazon — but Here Are 4 Reasons They Go Elsewhere

With Prime Day finally upon us, a new study confirms what most of the retail industry has long suspected: Amazon shows no sign of slowing down.

E-commerce consultancy Salmon released its annual Future Shopper report on Tuesday, showing that the online behemoth reigns as the preferred starting point in 51 percent of consumers’ shopping journeys, as well as the destination where 55 percent complete the majority of their online purchases.

Salmon’s researchers surveyed more than 3,500 consumers who shop online at least once a month across the U.S. and the U.K., and found that Amazon has greater penetration in the States than it does across the pond. Among American consumers, more than half of online spend goes to the e-commerce giant, compared with 35 percent of total online spend in the U.K.

Shoppers also revealed what ultimately drives them to buy elsewhere for the purchases made off the site: 46 percent said they could find cheaper pricing off Amazon, 25 percent cited more convenient shipping options, 25 percent said other retailers had more attractive loyalty programs, and 24 percent credited a desire for in-store experiences.

Retailers looking to compete should therefore focus on these differentiating factors, whether by expanding their loyalty programs, as we’ve seen companies like Macy’s and DSW do in recent months; leveraging brick-and-mortar stores for convenient pick-up and delivery for local shoppers; or investing in experiential retail.

The study did offer some solace to luxury brands in particular: While 32 percent of shoppers said they don’t buy luxury products online, of those that do, 18 percent said they prefer to purchase luxury products directly from a brand’s site, more than any other category. This presents a strong opportunity for brands, since the direct-to-consumer channel offers higher margins than wholesale, not to mention greater control over the purchase experience.

“While consumers will look to the big marketplaces — notably Amazon and eBay — for their purchases, there is still a significant opportunity for brands to engage with customers via retailers and their own websites, too,” said Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Wunderman Commerce, Salmon’s parent company. “By being in control of their data and the associated intelligence and insights, brands can start to better target their customers and build more personal relationships with them.”

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