Amazon is eating away at Google’s core business

Jeff bezos amazon ceo happy laughing smiling
Jeff Bezos, founder and Chief Executive of Amazon. Alex Wong/Getty Images

For more and more people, Amazon is now their first port of call when it comes to researching potential purchases — and that’s bad news for Google.

Over half of Americans now go to Amazon to carry out their first search for products, turning away from search engines and other online retailers, according to a new study from marketing company BloomReach. (The research was previously reported on by Bloomberg.)

55% of those surveyed made their first search on Amazon, up from 44% a year ago. Meanwhile, just 27% of people begin at search engines, down 34%. Retailers also saw a decline, dropping from 21% to 16%.

(The study took place on Labour Day, May 1, and surveyed 2,000 consumers. There’s no word on data from other countries, but it seems reasonable to assume that in Western markets where Amazon has a similar presence to in the US, the results would be similar.)

It’s a yet another sign of how utterly Amazon is dominating online shopping — but it’s also particularly bad news for Google.

Google’s original, core business is a search engine. But more and more consumers are now opting to bypass it entirely, going straight to the ultimate destination instead of browsing around.

Plus the ads Google can serve next to product/shopping searches are especially lucrative (as they can be highly targeted at users obviously intending to spend money), making this trend more damaging than if Google’s search market were eroding in a different sector (educational searches, for example).

A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

That all said, there’s no guarantee that people who go to Amazon first will definitely buy from there — something BloomReach acknowledges. “Just because consumers start on Amazon, that doesn’t mean they ultimately buy from Amazon,” marketing head Jason Seeba said in a statement. “Instead, they’re often comparing and researching products on search engines and other retailers.”

Plus, it’s not like Google is solely dependent on search: Its revenue now comes from everything from its DoubleClick ad network to Google Play Store purchases.

But even so, Amazon has become the unrivalled go-to destination to start your search for products — and that has to worry the world’s largest search engine.

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