Amazon has “become everyone’s number one competitor on Google Shopping” by increasing its share of total impressions on the platform by more than 50 percent in 2021, says research by market technology provider Bidnamic.
The online giant focused heavily on categories where pandemic behaviours such as home working and a focus on pets drove demand, Bidnamic says. Amazon dominated impressions on Google Shopping for office supplies with a 71 percent share in 2021, up from 54 percent in 2020, while its 68 percent share for animals and pet supplies was a rise on the 53 percent the previous year.
The impact of home-schooling and having children at home more also bolstered Amazon’s dominance. Impressions for baby and toddler and toys and games were up to 67 percent, a hike from the 48 percent in 2020.
Clothing and accessories, the only category where Amazon had less than half of the share of impressions in 2021, was – at 47 percent – still up on the 30 percent the year before.
Bidnamic CEO and founder Liam Patterson says: “With heavyweight competitors like Amazon gaining a greater slice of the pie, channels like Google Shopping are becoming a fierce battleground and to stand the best chance of winning the customer, retail advertisers need to fully optimise ads at an individual product level.”
Caution towards conversion for Gen Z
Gen X and Millenials led the way for share in Google Shopping impressions and conversions in 2021, with both age groups seeing an increase compared to 2019.
Consumers aged 25 to 34 took the biggest slices last year, accounting for 27 percent of impressions while the 30 percent of conversions in 2021 was a jump from the 24 percent share in 2019.
Despite increasing their share of conversions from 16 percent to 19 percent between 2019 and 2021, Gen Z consumers actually accounted for a lower proportion of conversions over the two years.
Conversion share for 18 to 24 year olds was 17 percent in 2021 compared to 20 percent in 2019. The findings indicate that while younger users were interested in online shopping, they were more cautious about buying, says Bidnamic.
At the other end of the age scale, the re-opening of physical shops was attributed to a fall in both impressions and conversions for baby boomers over the past two years.
Pre vs post lockdown searches
Bidnamic’s Google Shopping Trends Report 2022 also revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects meant many products saw an uplift in search volumes last year. The fastest growing category, luggage and bags, saw impressions grow by 89 percent year-on-year in 2021, as international travel became a possibility later in the year, while impressions for animals and pet supplies were up 86 percent.
Some pandemic trends - like moves to shopping online for groceries - look to be here to stay, with impressions growing in 2021, though not at the accelerated rate seen in 2020. Media, hardware and arts and entertainment were the only categories to show a decline in impressions last year.
Overall search volumes also showed reactions to the emergence from lockdowns over the first half of the year. The re-opening of shops and venues meant volumes in 2021 plummeted to a level 40 percent lower than in 2020 around the start of Q2, despite being around 150 percent higher towards the end of Q1 than the same period the year before.
Cost-per-clicks (CPC) on the flipside began 2021 at around a third lower than 2020 but shot up to being around 40 percent higher or more as the first half of the year progressed.
However Bidnamic writes off 2020 as a ‘blip’ caused by the pandemic, finding that levels of search and average CPC in 2021 were back on the pre-pandemic trajectory. The first six months of last year saw a between 9 percent and 32 percent increase in search volumes compared to 2019, while average CPC was between 9 percent and 32 percent lower. However, average CPC in 2021 was 51p, a jump of 50 percent from 2020.
Bidnamic predicts advertising budgets will shift towards paid search this year, with cost per click on the up and more shoppers using Google to search for the best deals. Patterson says: “We’ve obviously arrived at this level of online retail sales much sooner than anticipated. With the uncertainty around online advertising at the moment, particularly with the phasing out of third-party cookies, retailers need to ensure they push for greater understanding of the online marketing mix.”