Here’s Why People Shop on Amazon – And Why They’d Shop Elsewhere Too

February 27, 2018

People are primarily motivated to shop on Amazon by low prices, free shipping, and convenience, finds a new report from Epsilon [download page]. And yet these same factors – particularly prices and free shipping – would also help shoppers purchase from another retailer, according to the study.

For the report, Epsilon surveyed almost 4,000 consumers, asking those who had shopped on Amazon within the previous 6 months their reasons for doing so.

A leading 64% cited price as their motivation for shopping on Amazon, with free shipping (60%) a close second. Convenience was also a major factor: a majority (52%) said they shopped on Amazon because it was easy to buy that way, and close to half (47%) said that they used Amazon because it’s a one-stop-shop where they can buy different things they need.

Prime members largely cited the same motivating factors, but seemed more driven by free shipping. In fact, free shipping (70%) was the top reason why Prime members said they had shopped on Amazon, followed by price (65%) and two-day or next-day shipping (60%).

Interestingly, fewer than one-third of shoppers said that product reviews were a motivator – though reviews seem to be an important feature for apparel shoppers, who often shop on Amazon.

Why Stray from Amazon?

Epsilon’s report reveals that people who spend a lot on Amazon also turn out to be high spenders in other areas. In other words, it’s wrong to assume that people who shop on Amazon largely shop exclusively with the online retailer.

Asked which of various factors would help them decide to purchase from another online or offline retailer rather than Amazon, and Amazon shoppers pointed overwhelming to price (81%). A majority also said that free shipping (60%) would cause them to stray from Amazon.

This suggests that Amazon shoppers are more wedded to price and free shipping than they are to Amazon itself.

It’s worth noting that almost 4 in 10 Amazon shoppers said that they’d shop elsewhere if the other retailer had unique products they couldn’t otherwise find. This could prove to be a competitive advantage for Amazon’s competitors, as only one-fifth of Amazon shoppers said they use the online giant because it has unique products not sold elsewhere.

Why Prime?

The research indicates that – unsurprisingly – Prime members spend more on Amazon than non-Prime members. In fact, they’re also big spenders in other retail channels outside of Amazon, so it’s instructive to see what benefits they derive from being Prime members.

First and foremost, of course, is free 2-day shipping: 88% of Prime members said that free shipping has factored into their purchase decisions in the past 6 months.

That’s supported by the above-referenced data, in which Prime members were more likely than non-members to cite free and 2-day shipping as motivators for shopping on Amazon.

But Amazon Prime members are also making use of some other benefits:

  • Almost half (47%) have used Prime Video in the past 6 months;
  • Close to one-third (30%) have used Prime Music; and
  • About one-fifth (21%) have used Prime Reading.

For those ages 18-44, the top benefits beyond shipping are video and music, while for those ages 45 and older the top benefits are reading and credit cards.

The full report is available for download here.

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