Nearly half of online shoppers start holiday shopping at Amazon

If online shopping still attracts so many shoppers, what hope is there for other brands?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

With online shopping giants like Amazon sweeping up customer business this holiday season, what chance have other businesses got to increase sales? A new report shares tips on where retailers can benefit.

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Consumer experience company Episerver recently released its 2019 holiday shopping trends report. It surveyed 4,500 global online shoppers to discover any differences in the way that customers shop and the way that retailers want them to behave.

According to Episerver data, traffic from social to e-commerce websites doubled in the first half of 2019 -- compared to 2017 and 2018. The survey found that Amazon has almost reached the tipping point for shoppers. Over two out of five (42%) of shoppers are planning to buy all or most of their gifts this year from Amazon.

One in three (32%) of online shoppers start their holiday shopping on Amazon, followed by Google (18%) and a retailer's website (17%). When it comes to apparel shopping, more consumers turn to a brand/retailer's website (43%) than Google (29%) or Amazon (30%).

Shoppers want to buy online. Thirty-nine percent of holiday shoppers prefer to do most of their shopping online -- compared to 36% who do the majority of their shopping in-store. Over two out of three (68%) of online shoppers often or always compare what they find on a brand or website to what's available on Amazon.

Two out of five online shoppers start holiday shopping at Amazon zdnet

Only 12% of shoppers indicating they start their holiday shopping year-round.

For the majority of shoppers, November starts the uptick in shopping, with 13% starting at the start of the month, and 17% shopping at the end of November.

Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce at Episerver, said: "Despite priding itself on customer-obsession, Amazon still lacks in areas like product education, inspirational content and fanatical customer service."

However, all is not lost for brands. Amazon still lacks in areas including product education, inspirational content, how-to guides, and customer service.

This opens a window of opportunity for brands to fill the gap with tactics Amazon won't use during the holiday shopping season. Almost half (47%) of online shoppers will buy few or none of their gifts via Amazon. 

Consumers expect superb experience from brands who are expected to come up with the Amazon model of online sales.

Brands need to make sure that their experience is filled with human experiences, how-to guides, great customer service, and relevant email messaging.

Brands will then be able to retain their edge as shopping by Amazon continues its inexorable rise.

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