The United States has seen a huge increase in e-commerce spending since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with big name retail companies making profits at the cost of smaller businesses.
But although American consumers are filled with good intentions of supporting small businesses during the crisis, the latest survey from Convey reveals a contradiction between shopper sentiment and action.
Convey’s second annual Amazon survey of 1,100 US consumers found that, despite their beliefs, respondents still turn to Amazon for most of their shopping due to the convenience and reliability that the online marketplace offers.
Consumer dependence on Amazon increased during the pandemic
Convey’s survey showed that just over 4 in 10 (42%) of American shoppers buy most of their goods on Amazon — an 83% increase since the pandemic started last March. The number of people who purchase 75% to 100% of their items on the marketplace doubled since last year as well.
And while many consumers choose Amazon for its fast shipping (73%) and convenient purchase process (58%), another 49% choose the retailer for its reliable delivery times.
In fact, 19% of survey respondents specifically pointed to Amazon’s "proactive communication during delivery" — a deluge of emails letting consumers know when their products are being shipped out, when their products are out for delivery and when the package has been delivered along with picture proof.
Reliance on Amazon overshadows benevolent consumer sentiments
Last year, many people committed to supporting small businesses — as well as the everyday people that owned and ran them. According to the Convey survey, 95% of survey participants found it important to support small businesses that were affected by the pandemic restrictions.
However, the survey’s findings also showed that Amazon’s alluring benefits were too good to resist: 41% of those wanting to support small businesses still bought at least half of their goods on Amazon.
This decision may have been reinforced by last year’s holiday shipping fiasco, with many shoppers expressing their frustration with small business fulfillment issues.
Because many consumers wanted to avoid shopping at stores they didn’t think were safe, many turned to online retailers to complete their holiday gift list instead. Research from RetailMeNot found that 75% of shoppers wanted to do their shopping online, while 18% said they’d only shop online and avoid in-person shopping completely.
But with high customer expectations to meet, reliable delivery was — and still is — important. This may explain why Amazon has won out, as 87% of Convey’s respondents stated that a retailer’s delivery experience played an important part in a customer’s overall shopping experience.
Amazon prides itself on quick and dependable shipping. And in the midst of a public health crisis that prevents people from shopping for themselves, this service becomes even more important.
Methodology: Convey asked 1,100 American consumers 15 questions about Amazon, their shopping behaviors and priorities as well as their experiences during the 2020 holiday season. The responses to these questions were gathered using SurveyMonkey.