50% of product searches start on Amazon

Amazon dominates, but ratings and reviews, search engines and brand websites all play key roles in the online shopping journey.

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Amazon continues to be the most popular starting point for online shoppers with one exception – Gen Z, according to a new survey.

Why we care. Nearly all consumers research purchases online and rely heavily on ratings and reviews. So it remains absolutely critical to be visible on any relevant platforms at moments when shoppers are researching and purchasing products.

By the numbers. Here’s where respondents said they start searching when shopping online:

  • Amazon: 50%
  • Google: 31.5%
  • Retail or brands websites: 14%
  • Reviews websites: 2%
  • Social media: 2%

But. For Generation Z, Google bested Amazon (38% vs. 36%, respectively). Gen Z was also the most likely group to start their shopping journey on social media (5%).

Reviews and ratings. Reviews and ratings can make or break a sale more than any other factor, including product price, free shipping, free returns and exchanges, and more.

Overall, 77% of respondents said they specifically seek out websites with reviews – and this number was even higher for Gen Z (87%) and millennials (81%).

  • Ratings without accompanying reviews are considered untrustworthy by 56% of survey respondents.

Where people read reviews and ratings:

  • Amazon: 94%
  • Retail websites (e.g., Target, Walmart): 91%
  • Search engines: 70%
  • Brand websites (the brand that manufactures the product: 68%
  • Independent review sites: 40%

User-generated photos and videos gain value. Sixty percent of consumers looked at user-generated images or videos when learning about new products. 

  • 77% of respondents said they trust customer photos and videos.
  • 53% said user-generated photos and videos from previous customers impacted their decision whether to purchase a product.

Google (and search). 56% of consumers consider search results (on Google and other search engines) when making purchase decisions. Also:

  • 63% of respondents said they use search engine results to learn about products they haven’t purchased before.
  • 50% said they trust search engine results when making a purchase decision.

Bottom line. Amazon continues to be the go-to product search engine for consumers. And ratings and reviews are king.

About the survey. PowerReviews surveyed 8,153 U.S. consumers in March 2023. It skewed heavily toward millennials, who made up 53% of respondents, followed by Gen X (29%); Baby Boomers (10%) and Gen Z (8%). You can learn more in the full results from PowerReviews: Survey: The Ever-Growing Power of Reviews (2023 Edition).

About the author

Danny Goodwin
Danny Goodwin is Editorial Director of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo - SMX. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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