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Amazon the most trusted channel for product research for UK shoppers - report

David Murphy

Despite the popularity of social media platforms and the rise in social commerce, just 4 per cent of UK consumers trust social media when researching a product. That’s one of the findings of a study carried out by eCommerce solutions firm ChannelAdvisor. It commissioned research firm Dynata to survey 5,000 consumers in the UK, US, France, Germany and Australia about their online shopping and research habits in 2022. Respondents, who ranged in ages from 18 to 65, were screened and sampled in partnership with Dynata. 

The study found that 48 per cent of consumers in the UK trust Amazon for product research, compared to just 4 per cent who trust social media. Despite this lack of trust in social media, 22 per cent of respondents said they discovered products through sites like Instagram and TikTok.

The survey results also revealed how inflation and rising costs are affecting consumer purchasing decisions and their priorities when conducting online research before or during an in-store shopping experience. Despite the cost of living increasing, three-quarters of UK consumers claimed they are spending the same amount or more online as they were compared to last year.

The study found that Amazon has become the top channel for consumer research with nearly nine out of ten consumers using the eCommerce platform for assessing products. Retail media ads are influencing consumer purchase decisions, with 41 per cent of respondents saying they’d purchased after seeing an ad on Amazon.

Key findings
UK trends indicate shopping journeys involve more activity across retail sites and marketplaces:

  • 85 per cent of UK consumers use multiple digital touchpoints during their buying journey
  • 71 per cent of consumers tend to use multiple marketplaces on a regular basis for browsing, shopping or buying
  • 16 per cent of consumers regularly use three marketplaces on a regular basis for browsing, shopping or buying, and 11 per cent use four or more
  • 33 per cent of consumers have purchased an item from a foreign retail site or marketplace in the past 12 months
  • These purchases are more frequent among younger consumers (54 per cent of 18- to 25-year-olds) than older consumers (19 per cent of consumers aged 65+)
  • 47 per cent of UK consumers have used click and collect in the past 12 months

Marketplaces are the most common channels to discover new products:

  • 89 per cent of UK consumers browse items on marketplaces or retail sites without the direct intention to buy anything
  • 42 per cent of UK consumers “discovered” products they’ve purchased in the past 12 months by browsing marketplaces

Retail media advertising is becoming essential to increase product awareness:

  • 32 per cent of UK consumers have clicked on a sponsored or promoted ad that they saw on a marketplace or retail site in the past 12 months, which lags behind other regions as the global figure is 10 per cent higher
  • This activity is higher among younger shoppers (60 per cent of consumers aged 18-25 and 49 per cent of consumers aged 26-35)
  • 41 per cent of consumers have purchased an item on Amazon after seeing an ad for that product on Amazon

In the past 12 months, consumers have researched products on these sites:

  • Facebook: 22 per cent
  • Instagram: 21 per cent
  • Google: 78 per cent
  • Amazon: 88 per cent
  • eBay: 63 per cent

Pricing in a major factor for consumers before making a purchase:

  • 83 per cent of consumers usually compare prices before making a purchase
  • 99 per cent of consumers consider price a somewhat or very important factor in product selection
  • 64 per cent of consumers indicated their reason for researching products online before or during shopping in-store “often” involves checking prices

The 2022 festive season will continue to involve heavy online research and purchasing activity:

  • 85 per cent of UK consumers plan to spend the same amount of time or more shopping for festive gifts online compared to last year
  • 20 per cent of 18- to 25-year-old consumers plan to conduct festive shopping research on social media sites

“To stay competitive and agile in this changing environment, brands and retailers must first understand how, where and why consumers are shopping,” said ChannelAdvisor CMO, Mike Shapaker. “There are certainly encouraging signs for those operating in the UK as, despite strong headwinds, consumers are still spending online. While consumers do look to continue buying, these purchases will be more considered, and understanding how these decisions are made will be vital.”