As if we needed further proof, a new consumer study adds another dimension to Amazon’s dominance of the consumer electronics industry.
According to a report from marketing communications consultancy Walker Sands, fully 70 percent of shoppers purchased CE products from Amazon or its third-party affiliates within the past year.
By comparison, 51 percent bought tech items in brick-and-mortar stores, and 17 percent ordered directly from a manufacturer’s website.
Perhaps equally disconcerting, 9 percent didn’t buy any consumer electronics at all within the past year.
The findings jibe with TWICE’s latest Top 100 CE Retailers report, which showed Amazon leapfrogging Walmart on a 28-percent growth curve to become the No. 2 tech retailer in the country, behind only Best Buy.
As a result of the Amazon effect, CE and books, which led the initial charge into online shopping, appear to have captured the e-commerce flag. According to Walker Sands, more than two-thirds of shoppers (67 percent) say they prefer to buy their tech devices online versus 33 percent who still like to shop the old-fashioned way, in stores.
That makes CE the second-most e-commerce-friendly product category, behind only books, which edged out tech by one percentage point (68 percent).
Diving deeper into the cyber-shopper mindset, 88 percent of respondents said free shipping would make them buy more online, while 69 percent would be incentivized by one-day shipping, as would 68 percent by free returns.
But physical retailers aren’t out of the running. Seventy percent of respondents said they would be open to push notifications and in-store mobile tracking when visiting brick-and-mortar showrooms, and two-thirds (67 percent) believe that such a blending of the online and physical channels could improve their in-store shopping experience.
In return for opting in to the beacon and geo-targeting technologies, 61 percent would want to be rewarded with discounts and coupons, 47 percent with loyalty bonuses, and 34 percent with faster checkouts.
Moreover, 62 percent of respondents said they are interested in trying VR shopping; 41 percent said they would consider buying their CE that way; and 22 percent plan to buy a VR device next year.
Shoppers are less keen on delivery drones, with 72 percent fearing that the flying fulfillment systems will lead to theft and damaged packages. Still, 40 percent said they are “very likely” to give them a try if it means receiving their orders with an hour.
The key takeaway for retailers, the consultancy said, is to heavily invest in supply chain, logistics, and in-store and VR technologies, as ultimately “we expect to see that consumer preference for buying specific products in a brick-and-mortar store or on a website will decline, and most shoppers will gravitate toward the best brand experience, regardless of physical or virtual location, and embrace the best of both worlds.”
The complete report is available for download here.