3 insights on how consumers discover, research, and shop for products in 2021
November 23, 2021
As customers engage with a myriad of channels and media across shopping stages, advertisers need to understand how consumers ultimately make buying decisions.
Amazon surveyed 12,000+ in-market panelists1 from the Amazon Shopper Panel program to understand consumer shopping habits online and offline.2 To learn more about how customer preferences vary by the types of products they shop for, we asked the panelists about their shopping experiences across seven categories: apparel, shoes, fashion accessories, sports equipment, bedding, electronics, and toys.3
Three key insights emerged from the survey responses:
- The majority of panelists surveyed discover brands online
- Over half of the respondents default to researching products online
- “To see and feel the item in person” is the main driver for offline shopping
These findings indicate that online media and advertising – search, social, email, video – can play a key role in how customers discover new brands and research products. For advertisers, this underscores the importance of utilizing digital media to help build brand awareness, inspire brand discovery, and educate customers about your products. In addition, given the impact of online media on the respondents’ upper funnel activities, advertisers should look beyond conventional performance indicators when evaluating media effectiveness, and consider conducting studies on brand reach, brand lift, and site visitation to measure the full impact.
Here’s a look at detailed findings across categories:
1. The majority of panelists surveyed discover brands online
Across categories, panelists predominantly find out about new brands through digital media and ads: search, social media, email, and video. But there were nuances between categories. Nearly 2 out of 3 respondents mainly discover new brands through online media when shopping for fashion accessories, electronics, and toys. While most respondents also see online media as the main avenue for brand discovery when shopping for shoes and bedding, - 1 out 5 respondents also find new brand inspiration at physical stores.
This reinforces the value of running upper-funnel campaigns and reaching customers at the beginning of their shopping journeys. It’s worth noting that channel metrics such as impressions and clicks do not fully capture the impact of these upper-funnel efforts. We recommend brands look at KPIs such as brand recall and branded search traffic to evaluate brand campaign success.
Nearly 2 out of 3 respondents mainly discover new brands through online media when shopping for fashion accessories, electronics, and toys.
2. Over half of the respondents research products online
Across categories, the vast majority of panelists research products online. Nearly 70% of the respondents surveyed for electronics shopping experiences mainly use online channels to learn about new products. When it comes to fashion accessories, online media heavily influences how shoppers discover brands. But offline channels play a prominent role when it comes to product research—42% of respondents examine fashion accessories both online and offline.
Brands that want to engage customers at the research stage need to be prepared to speak to undecided shoppers online, and have the right toolsets and messaging to help inform their decisions. Remarketing is a good way to remind customers about your product, but comprehending customer needs and actively surfacing information on how you fulfill their needs can help you stand out more among your peer set.
Nearly 70% of the respondents surveyed for electronics shopping experiences mainly use online channels to learn about new products.
3. “To see and feel the item in person” is the main driver for offline shopping
The survey also found that the top three reasons people shop offline are “to see and feel the item in person,” “to find the best price and deal,” and “to get the item right away.” We see the breakdown of offline shopping intents for electronics and toys being most unique in comparison to other categories: nearly 2 out of 5 respondents surveyed for electronics shopping experience choose deal-hunting as the main reason for offline purchase, with 1 out of 3 surveyed for toys category attribute offline shopping to getting the item immediately.
Brands should keep these shopping intents in mind when designing offline experiences, and find opportunities to extend their engagement with shoppers across online and offline channels. For example, brands can consider providing customers with more ways to “experience” products digitally, as a way to give them the touch and feel they experience offline, or help them easily locate offline access to the brand’s products and services which is a convenience they usually find online.
Nearly 2 out of 5 respondents surveyed for electronics shopping experience choose deal-hunting as the main reason for offline purchase
Keep these tactics in mind when planning your next campaign: running upper-funnel brand campaigns to reach customers when they’re seeking products, surfacing information on how your brand meet customers’ needs, and creating online and offline ways for customers to experience your products. In doing so, you can help provide customers with what they’re seeking throughout their shopping journeys.
Learn more about the Amazon Shopper Panel. Contact your Amazon Ads account partner to learn how you can benefit from survey insights.
1 “In-market customers” refer to customers who have shopped for or have expressed interests in shopping for surveyed categories.
2 Survey Audiences are sampled based on demographics and shopping behaviors to accurately reflect overall US Amazon shopper population.
3 Survey margin of error within 3%, panelists that are not category shoppers were surfaced through survey responses and were excluded from survey results to accurately reflect the in-market shopper population for each category.