New survey explores Amazon shoppers’ evolving behaviours, by Sitecore’s Paige O’Neill

By Paige O’Neill, chief marketing officer at Sitecore.

The retail industry has been riding a two-year roller coaster of uncertainty and obstacles – from navigating the forced shift to online-only shopping sparked by the pandemic, to the recent return to brick-and-mortar and today’s supply chain challenges and inflation.

Research highlights how e-commerce giant succeeds in areas of brand perception and critical customer experience.

Despite all these issues, one retailer continues to prevail: Amazon. Considered the gold standard in retail, the e-commerce giant has managed to maintain customer loyalty due to its variety of products, competitive prices, and overall great customer experience (CX).

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To understand how Amazon customers perceive the brand and critical CX aspects other retailers should consider, Sitecore commissioned a new Advanis survey. In April 2022, the survey polled 1,000 US web users who have shopped at Amazon at least once in the past year and reveals consumers’ perceptions and shopping behaviours and how they have evolved since 2021.

Amazon remains dominant in the retail market

  • More consumers are subscribing to Amazon Prime memberships – 77% of those polled currently have a subscription, compared to 68% in 2021
  • More than two-thirds (69%) said Amazon is the first website they choose to browse when shopping online, compared to 54% in last year’s survey
  • Millennials are Amazon’s biggest fans with 70% saying they go to this website first, followed by Baby Boomers and Gen Z (68% for both)
  • Almost half of shoppers (46%) say they shop at Amazon a few times per month – a steady increase from just 38% last year

So, what keeps Amazon customers coming back? Here are the primary attributes shoppers love:

  • Delivery speed – 70%
  • Prices – 65%
  • Personalized shopping experience – 54%
  • Item variety – 50%
  • Inventory – 46%
  • Low cost of delivery – 44%
  • Ease of return – 37%

Shoppers’ loyalty to Amazon isn’t unbreakable

One in three (33%) consumers want to shop less at Amazon, and many respondents expressed that there are several tipping points that would cause them to ditch the brand and consider other websites, such as:

  • A purchase experience that matched Amazon’s (e.g., delivery speed, item availability) – 51%
  • Better choices from other retailers (e.g., discounts, free shipping, inventory variety) – 27%
  • Receiving counterfeit or low-quality items that don’t match the website description – 26%
  • Poor employment practices – 8%

Unionization is a hot topic for Amazon

  • Most are in support of Amazon workers unionizing (78%), even though over half think it would increase prices (52%)
  • The reason behind their support for unionizing is that almost half (48%) believe it would improve Amazon’s services — such as inventory, shipping times, and customer service

This signals that consumers are willing to sacrifice higher prices for an optimal customer experience throughout their e-commerce journey

  • Two-thirds (67%) say they would think more highly of Amazon if the company was in favour of unionizing in their warehouses (or other areas)

There are numerous reasons consumers choose to give their loyalty to one brand over another – and it’s more than just price and offerings. Today’s customers want to purchase from brands that are doing good for their workforce, customers, and the world (as seen in the unionization data above).

However, that doesn’t mean CX can fall by the wayside. As more than half (54%) of consumers say Amazon’s shopping experience is more personalized compared to other retailers – and as Amazon’s ratings continue to improve (up from 43% in 2021) – it is critical that brands pick up the pace with personalization. To reach Amazon-levels of customer loyalty in 2022 and beyond, retailers must prioritize enhancing CX to anticipate and align with every customer’s needs.