Consumers have a strong preference for shopping through online marketplaces instead of retailers' own websites, a new study shows.
A majority of online shoppers plan to buy holiday gifts this season through online marketplaces like Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. (42 percent) or in store (43 percent), while just 15 percent plan to purchase through retailers' websites directly, according to the "2016 Holiday Consumer Insights Report" report from Princeton, N.J.-based search marketing agency NetElixir.
When asked about reasons for choosing an online marketplace over a retailer's website, "price" was cited as the top reason, with "trust" and "variety of options" coming in as the other top reasons, the report showed.
"Marketplaces have become dominant over the past couple of years, which is a trend that poses many challenges to retailers," NetElixir CEO Udayan Bose said in a release. "While marketplaces offer benefits like access to a huge customer base, retailers need to weigh these benefits against risks like commoditization and steep price cuts on their products when selling through such platforms."
Additional findings about consumer trends and preferences for this holiday shopping season include:
"The mobile statistic is critical for retailers," Bose said. "The implication is that the majority of consumers are now going through the entire purchase funnel on their mobile devices, which means retailers need to be present and findable on mobile devices. For example, retailers need to have their [product listing ads] working on mobile during the holidays. This is just a sample of how retailers need to adjust to this holiday season to take into consideration that mobile has now gone completely mainstream."
NetElixir compiled the report by surveying 1,000 random U.S. internet users during the week of Sept. 27, 2016. The sample size is based on the U.S. internet population, which skews slightly male and younger, with 57 percent of respondents being male and just slightly more than 50 percent of respondents being between 18 and 44 years of age.