Amazon Gets An Early Holiday Shopping Gift

Perhaps Amazon’s bid to create an early “Black Friday” — at least for Prime members — is giving it an edge this holiday season.

A new poll from Reuters/Ipsos indicates that slightly more than half (51 percent) of consumers (from a survey of 3,426 adults) will be turning to Amazon for a majority of their online holiday shopping. The big-box retailers rang in far below, with respondents listing Walmart second (16 percent), Target third at 3 percent and Macy’s at just 2 percent. Those figures, however, are just for online shopping.

What this poll reveals is most of what retailers already know: That it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with Amazon’s growing ecosystem that’s adding more customer-centric services that are making retailers find new ways to draw consumers into physical stores (or even to their websites).

While physical retailers look to upset Amazon’s business model by providing shoppers with something they can’t get online, Amazon is attempting to do the same by giving into what shoppers want most.

What Amazon has done and continues to attempt to do is disrupt the traditional retail model by providing consumers with a shopping experience that comes with the ability to shop when they want, where they want, and how they want, as well as the ability to get those goods delivered in a speedy fashion. With the holiday season upon us, Amazon hopes its same-day delivery play could be the key to delivering an in-store experience — all without having to go to the store, of course.

What physical retailers bring into the mix is the ability to pick up a gift last minute, which is particularly helpful for those procrastinators, or the shopper who just needs to top off that gift with one more item. That’s why Amazon is betting big on its same-day delivery option to check off all the boxes.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that 8 percent of adults surveyed said they’ll shop strictly online, which is a 2 percent increase compared to last year. Those who said they’ll do the majority of their shopping online was 17 percent.

While Amazon looks to new ways to entice consumers this holiday season (early Black Friday, daily deals, etc.), the big-box retailers continue to struggle to keep up with the same growth rates.

Target’s earnings this week revealed that its digital growth had slowed to a 20 percent rate, which was 10 percent below its expectations. Walmart saw a 10 percent online sales growth in the same quarter, but that was also lower than its expectations. This comes at a time when those big-box retailers are injecting massive amounts of their budget toward their online channels. Walmart said earlier this year that it had plans to invest $1 million into improving its eCommerce offerings.

Amazon, however, has seen a 28 percent increase in North American sales alone, according to its most recent quarterly results. And its latest quarter showed Amazon’s strategy has been paying off in terms of growth rates.

“The Big Kahuna that continues to grab market share is Amazon,” Craig Johnson, head of retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, told Reuters. “Both Walmart and to some extent Target have simply not kept pace enough.”


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