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Social media to challenge Amazon search engine dominance

By Sasha Fedorenko June 27, 2019 - 4:05 pm

Social media is poised to overthrow Amazon search engine dominance as social channels gain momentum as a source for product inspiration, says the Future of Shopper report by Wunderman Thompson.

The research polled 15,188 people in eight countries on how they are shopping today and how they expect to do so tomorrow. It looked at what shoppers rate highly, what they don’t care about, and how, of course, they feel about Amazon.

Understanding the nature of product inspiration

When it comes to shopping, inspiration abounds— from search and social media to innovation and demographics.

In the inspiration phase, shoppers become aware of, and interested in, making a purchase. Sellers tend to think of this in terms of a high-touch process, but it need not be. Consumers are inspired to buy Doritos, just as they are inspired to buy a washing machine. They are inspired to go out to eat, just as they are inspired to buy a car.

Visibility is vital in the shopping journey despite the nature of a product. If shoppers can’t find merchants’ products, they can be seen as non-existent.

Social media is popular amongst the Gen Z

Amazon remains a popular destination for product discovery but their dominance is under threat, says the report. It attributes the change to the rising avenue for inspiration today – social media.

Amazon’s greatest strength comes with older customers, by age group. However, their iron grip on this is soon to be disrupted as the youngest generation, Gez Z (16-24-year-olds) is using social media to ‘spark their imagination.’

Amazon search engine dominance

While half of shoppers aged 16-24 look for inspiration on social, only 12% of people over the age of 55 do so. Women also outpace men on social 37% to 25%.

The winner in the game? Social media. Among 16-24-year-olds, it leapfrogs to first place for inspiration with a 49% share. Social largely rises in time with each age group as well. This strongly suggests a global trend away from search and toward social for inspiration—with Gen Z leading the way. The end of search dominance as we know it may be here sooner rather than later.

 Amazon search engine dominance

The report also collected data on consumers who share products on social media and on messaging apps. Some 38% of consumers said they do this, with the number jumping to 49% of those aged 16-24 and 46% of those aged 25-34.

Spain and France led the way with roughly 50% of all people sharing socially, while Amazon Prime members, not surprisingly, outpaced general consumers at 47%.

Sellers seeking out younger consumers may need to rethink their long-term media strategies in light of a consumer base that may slowly be shifting away from a crowded traditional media market.

  • Kevin
    5 months ago

    What social media can not do is to deliver the next day or same day and that is where Amazon excels. All the young consumers want everything now, so fast shipping becomes a major factor where a person shops. This is why Amazon will continue to dominate.

  • SAM
    5 months ago

    It is true. Not myself but my partner and her friends not even gen z but 20s early 30s have pretty much been brought up by social media. She gets so many of her ideas from insta, pinterest, and Facebook.
    Wedding cake, singer, flowers, invitations, bridesmaid dresses even my groomsmen gifts have all come from social media for a wedding next month. We’re even picked our seats on our flight for the honeymoon because of a video someone put on you tube, saved us a few hundred quid on pointless upgrades.
    You can add links to most social sites to websites or marketplaces.

    Direct checkout is going to be the big game changer. Amazon will still dominate on price and be the place for big box shifters and penny chasing, but social will become so much more important for smaller traders.

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