(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc. remains the top online destination for U.S. shoppers seeking products, but Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other search engines narrowed the gap over the past year.
About 49% of online shoppers visit Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, first when searching for products, down from 55% in 2016, according to a consumer survey from San Francisco research firm Survata. Google and other search engines followed at 36%, up from 28%. Consumers visited individual retailers’ websites first only 15% of the time, compared with 16% last year.
Being thought of first by consumers for product searches helps Amazon maintain its lead in e-commerce. Online retail spending will grow about 16% this year to $453 billion, according to EMarketer Inc.
Google needs shoppers to use its search engine to help protect its leading position in digital advertising, which will generate $35 billion for the company this year, according to EMarketer.
A rise in mobile shopping likely helped Google gain on Amazon in 2017 because the search engine has improved its experience on smartphones, said Chris Kelly, Survata’s CEO. Holiday spending on smartphones will increase 26% this year, according to Adobe Systems Inc.