Amazon.com Inc. shoppers care about price and shipping, and they will compare what other retailers offer before deciding whether to complete a purchase, according to a new report from digital marketing agency CPC Strategy.
CPC’s data shows 23.1% of shoppers cited price as the driving factor behind buying something on Amazon, while shipping came in a close second at 19.8%, according to the survey, which involved 1,500 U.S. shoppers age 18 or older in December.
More than half of all shoppers in the CPC Strategy report—53.5%—say they sometimes or always check prices elsewhere, while 18.2% say they only check Amazon’s prices before deciding to buy. The remaining respondents (28.3%) say they don’t shop on Amazon.
For years, free shipping has been a primary factor that influences consumer purchases. In 2013, Forrester Research Inc. found that 59% of U.S. consumers consider shipping costs when making online purchase decisions and 53% of survey participants say low-cost shipping is an important reason why they would switch to a different online retailer. An October 2016 report by McKinsey & Co. states that 70% of consumers prefer the least expensive form of home delivery. That report was based on a survey of more than 4,700 respondents in China, Germany and the United States (more than 1,500 in each country). According to Top500Guide.com, 635 of the 1,000 largest online retailers in the U.S. have a free shipping offering.
Amazon Prime, a $99 annual membership program, offers two-day shipping for no additional charge and no minimum purchase on eligible products. For non-Prime customers, Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, just lowered its free shipping threshold to $35 from $49, three weeks after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4) made a similar move.
The willingness of shoppers to look elsewhere potentially opens a door for retailers trying to compete with Amazon because they can offer a more economical price and shipping combination. “Amazon shoppers aren’t necessarily brand-loyal, but they are price loyal,” CPC says in the report.
“There are two basic kinds of Amazon shoppers: There’s the convenience shopper who values things like shipping speed and customer service. Then, there’s the value shopper, who gravitates toward Amazon for great deals,” CPC writes. “If they don’t see a deal they want, they’re going to see if it’s cheaper elsewhere.”
- Amazon shoppers tend to stick with what they know when buying on the site. 45.8% of survey respondents say they sometimes or rarely try new products when shopping on Amazon while just 23.2% say they often try new products or brands.
- Shoppers prefer to buy on their desktop devices (37.7%) compared with mobile phones (23.4%) and tablets (10.5%). The remaining shoppers say they do not shop on Amazon.
- Most Amazon shoppers weren’t buying on Amazon during Black Friday weekend. 66.7% report not buying on what is traditionally the largest sales weekend of the year, while 19.8% reported they did buy something off Amazon that weekend. The report does not say where those shoppers shopped on Black Friday weekend or if they shopped at all.