By Michelle Graff
New York--A vast majority of U.S. shoppers will visit this holiday season, but it’s not just to order those few perfect gifts.

According to a recent consumer study from BloomReach, U.S. shoppers now are treating Amazon more like a search engine, with 87 percent of consumers indicating they will “comparison shop” on Amazon.

Many U.S. customers, in fact, see Amazon’s product-searching capabilities as better than search engines, specifically Google, according to BloomReach. While 53 percent said that that they found Google and Amazon to be equivalent, 39 percent said that Amazon was better while only 8 percent said Google was better.

“Probably the top advantage that Amazon has is its resources,” BloomReach Head of Marketing and Partnerships Joelle Kaufman said. “Amazon has massive amounts of proprietary search and consumer-purchase data to apply its significant algorithmic intelligence for personalized search.”

BloomReach also asked shoppers why they continued to choose Amazon over other retailers. The top reason, perhaps surprisingly, had nothing to do with price.

Approximately 43 percent of U.S. shoppers said the main reason was Amazon’s ability to intuitively find or predict exactly what they want faster, whereas only one in three (33 percent) said better prices were the main reason.

The survey also found that retailers’ attempts to bring in customers with discounts and sales seem to be less successful these days, as traditional shopping periods are changing and consumers are relying less on these blockbuster deals. 

Half of shoppers plan to shop for gifts after Christmas as many think that retailers don’t offer the best deals until after the holiday. Thirty-one percent also indicated that they were going to start their shopping before Black Friday weekend.

BloomReach also suggested that there is some “consumer fatigue” and mistrust that retailers aren’t offering their best prices during the holiday sales weekends anyway.

What will work, the group suggested, is focusing more on omnichannel strategies and saving time for the shopper. When it comes to digital retailing, consumers’ top frustration is irrelevant search results on a site, followed by poor product descriptions.

About 61 percent of shoppers said they would only try twice to search for a product on a retailer’s site before giving up, and 56 percent said they expect a retail site to have an auto-complete search functionality. 

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