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Watch Out Google: Amazon Is Killing It In e-Commerce … And Search

There’s no argument that is the 800-pound gorilla of e-commerce.

What may be surprising, however, is that The House That Bezos Built has also become the dominant search engine when it comes to buying stuff.

According to a survey of 2,000 consumers commissioned by BloomReach, fully 44 percent of shoppers go straight to Amazon when shopping for products online, compared with the 34 percent who turn first to search engines and the 21 percent who seek out other specific retailers.

Equally impressive — or alarming, depending on your perspective — is the speed at which Amazon is consolidating its search lead. Just three years ago Forrester Research pegged the percentage of shoppers who went directly to the Big A at 30 percent, BloomReach noted.

The survey, conducted by Survata, also showed that 75 percent of consumers believe Amazon does the best job of personalizing the shopping experience, compared with 9 percent for and 8 percent for eBay.

Not surprisingly, a separate Survata survey of 500 online merchants showed that 44 percent consider Amazon their biggest threat, followed by eBay at 21 percent and a direct competitor at 20 percent.

BloomReach, it should be noted, provides online merchandising and search- and site-optimization services, so its motive for sounding the Amazon alarm may be biased even if the data is not.

Separately, the company also asked consumers about their smartphone shopping habits, and found that 81 percent still prefer to make their online purchases on a desktop or laptop computer. Why? Sixty-four percent said the challenges of using a smartphone (smaller screens, difficulty typing) negatively affected their willingness to make a mobile purchase.

The main use of smartphones when shopping, cited by 47 percent of respondents, is to research products and prices, with nearly half of the research conducted in stores (showrooming), the survey showed.