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GroupMNextCompete-Purchase-Pathways-Containing-Amazon-June2013“Amazon has joined Google as the two most important digital properties in consumer purchase behavior,” declares a new study from GroupM Next and Compete. In their analysis of more than 168,000 purchases of consumer electronics in which the consumer used digital media somewhere along their purchase path, the researchers found that appeared in an impressive 17% of the journeys. Given that every other retail site combined appeared in 34% of the purchase journeys, that means that when consumers visited a retail site online, 1 in 3 went to Amazon.

It’s important to remember that this applies to consumer electronics purchases, and may not extend to other online retail categories. Still, the sheer scale of Amazon’s involvement in the consumer electronics journey can’t be ignored.

What’s more, the data shows that Amazon is being used as much as a research destination as a place to purchase. Looking at the purchase pathways that contained Amazon, the study reveals that the site appeared at the beginning of the path 37% of the time and at the end of the path 35% of the time. About one-fifth of the time, Amazon showed up somewhere in the middle of the path, while 6% of the time it was the only destination in the purchase journey.

While Amazon emerges as highly influential in the consumer electronics purchase path, social media does not. In fact, social sites, defined as brand-specific pages on Facebook and Twitter, appeared in just 4% of the analyzed purchase pathways. (While that’s a small number, it’s more than social gets credit for when looking through a last-click attribution lens.) Still, the researchers note that their analysis only involved branded social media and did not extend to personal Facebook and Twitter interactions, which can be significant purchase influencers.

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