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Several studies – such as this one – have suggested that the majority of online shoppers begin their retail research on Amazon, rather than a search engine. But two new pieces of research – from Kenshoo and from Bing – call into question the concept that Amazon is used more extensively in product research than search.

In its survey of 3,100 consumers from the US, UK, Germany and France, Kenshoo found that more respondents turn to Google (85%) than to Amazon (72%) to help them find product ideas and information before making a purchase. That was true in each country, including the US, where 84% used Google compared to 71% using Amazon.

Likewise, research from Bing – reported here by Search Engine Land – found that 70% of retail searches occur on top search engines, versus 30% on Amazon. Rather than being survey data, that study was based on an analysis of 9 million US users who conducted a retail-related search or visited Amazon on a web browser.

Amazon Used in Certain Categories, Search in Others

What seems true is that Amazon is used more heavily in certain categories than others. Intriguingly, the Bing study found that 73% of its users used both Amazon and Bing – and among those, fully 80% who performed a retail search on Bing and also visited Amazon did not perform the same category searches on both platforms.

Previous research from Hitwise also came to a similar conclusion. In a study released earlier this year, Hitwise looked at several search groups to see which occurred exclusively on Amazon and which were exclusive to Google. The findings shows that the majority of searches for headphones (77%), PC (70%), phones (68%) and kindle/echo (65%) occurred exclusively on Amazon. By contrast, the majority of people conducting searches for gaming (56%) and movie/show (66%) terms performed those searches exclusively on Google rather than Amazon.

For its part, the Kenshoo survey looked into a variety of categories, asking consumers for which they’re likely to use Amazon when conducting research.

The results show a large disparity among categories. The most popular for research on Amazon was electronics and computers (73%), followed by books (58%), music, movies or games (56%), and home appliances (55%).

By contrast, comparatively few reported using Amazon for research into garden equipment and furniture (29%), food and grocery (18%) and beer, wine and spirits (8%).

Top 10 Searches on Amazon

Last month, we launched a new weekly table looking at the top 10 searches and product pages on Amazon, in recognition of its enormous influence. This weekly table – along with analyst commentary – is delivered exclusively to newsletter subscribers, but the inaugural table is included below. It certainly shows the skew towards electronics searches…!

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