Should Google be worried by Amazon’s new search potential?

Should Google be worried by Amazon’s new search potential?
Published on: Feb 24, 2019
Updated: Aug 19, 2022

New data from Hitwise reveals how Amazon has become its very own search engine. The online retail giant has seen a 24% rise in people beginning their browsing journey on its website. This is resulting in better conversion rates and more exclusive buyers.

This means that fewer people found Amazon through Google or Bing, but rather started searching on Amazon.

Google bypass

Bypassing the likes of Google and Bing has helped Amazon boost its retail share to more than 25%. And while Hitwise reported a 3% drop in ecommerce visits on Black Friday, Amazon’s grew by 3% to 49.98 million. The number of transactions also increased on Black Friday to 4.2 million, up 9% on last year.

But this isn’t just about the online retail giant's ability to attract shoppers straight onto its site. The research also suggests that there could be a shift in consumer behaviour. It would seem that shoppers are no longer wedded to traditional ways of browsing for products on the internet. They are prepared to get more creative with how they search. This could be worrying for the search giants like Google.


Amazon accelerates

Commenting on the findings, Lisa Luu, Global Head of Insights at Hitwise, said:

“Online retail has slowed down, but Amazon is still finding ways to grow. Hitwise data shows that the ecommerce giant has now become its own search engine.

“It is getting more effective at keeping people on the site, and converting them at double the industry average. The online retail giant is taking more share of the consumer’s online journey, and we are seeing brands react to this. More spend and efforts are now being dedicated to Amazon, optimising how a brand’s products are getting featured.”

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How to compete

Suggesting how other online retailers can compete with Amazon, Hitwise consumer insights expert Daniel Jacobs said:

“Looking beyond competitive promotions, the data shows that while consumers flock to Amazon as a retail experience, it’s far from a guarantee that they’re also purchasing their in-house brands.

“Amazon Basics and Energizer both had a 5.6% transaction share on Amazon. So there are still plenty of consumers who visit the platform with an open mind and open wallet. Additionally, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom both handily beat out Amazon Essentials in the Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories category.

“While these shoppers might prefer buying on the platform, Amazon’s own labels don’t seem to be dominating right now. So competitive brands should look to determine what consumers’ final purchasing drivers are (such as brand loyalty or pricing).”

Another key area where online retailers can compete with Amazon is in the post-purchase phase. This is one area where Amazon could improve in terms of delivering a more personal touch and making most of the marketing potential of this key part of the customer journey. By creating a comprehensive and personal post-purchase experience for customers, online retailers can drive loyalty and increase sales, potentially stealing a march on Amazon.

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