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Amazon Extends its Lead as Number One US Online Shopping Site

Walmart keeps the number two slot, while Kohl's overtakes BestBuy to become number three in NRF 2016 survey.

Photo: Onlinesupremacyaramus: Amazon’s magic keeps it at number one as the US’ favourite shopping portal.
Onlinesupremacyaramus: Amazon's magic keeps it at number one as the US' favourite shopping portal.
Photo: Onlinesupremacyaramus: Amazon’s magic keeps it at number one as the US’ favourite shopping portal.
Onlinesupremacyaramus: Amazon's magic keeps it at number one as the US' favourite shopping portal.

While it is relatively well-known that Amazon.com is the number one e-commerce destination for online shoppers across the US, less well-known is the hierarchy beyond that. A new survey by the Washington-based National Retail Federation (NRF), however, has provided a clearer picture of the country's changing digital trading landscape.

In the case of Amazon, its dominance of the sector has extended. Whereas, in the same survey conducted last year, 60% of respondents ranked it as their most frequently used online shopping site, this year the figure rose to 66%.

In terms of the factors driving consumers to the site, the most frequently cited reasons were low prices, fast/free shipping and the quality of its customer service. Among Millennials – those in 23-45 age range – Amazon scored particularly highly, with 73% of such respondents identifying it as their primary online shopping destination.

Second on the list – but way down in terms of first choice preferences – was Walmart.com, the online incarnation of the US retail giant. This year, some 14% of respondents named it as their preferred online purchasing site, a 2% increase on the 2015 figure.

One of Walmart's key selling points was seen as its Shipping Pass programme, which offers users free two-day shipping for a year for a US$49 annual fee. For many consumers, free shipping is almost as important as low prices. In the Baby Boomers sector – those aged between 50 and 70 – free shipping is said to ease their anxiety over shopping online. By contrast, Millennials view free shipping almost as a given.

There was a change at the number three slot, with Kohls.com (6.6%) rising from last year's number five position to become this year's bronze medal winner. Bestbuy.com – last year's number three – dropped to number five, with e-Bay retaining the number four position. Among Millenials, however, Target.com was rated in third position.

In terms of criteria valued by respondents with different first preferences, some 57% of Kohl's shoppers said they were likely to research clothing online, while just under 50% of Amazon shoppers said they were more likely to research clothing in-store than online. Similarly, Kohl's shoppers were the most influenced by coupon offers (53%).

In terms of more general trends, purchasers of beauty products are the least likely to do any research prior to ordering an item. By contrast, the keenest online researchers are those considering buying big ticket electronics items.

Curtis Louie, New York Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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