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Consumers Shifting Attitudes Towards Amazon Spurred By COVID-19 Pandemic

Fast, free shipping & convenience draw shoppers to Amazon even as the vast majority pledge to support small business

A majority of consumers now feel that Amazon has a positive impact on the retail industry; concerns about the retail giant’s environmental impact dwindle

A new survey conducted by Austin-based Delivery Experience Management provider Convey shows that US consumers overwhelmingly believe it is important to support small businesses hurt by COVID-19 shutdown. However, this belief doesn’t always translate into dollars spent with smaller merchants as Amazon’s dominance continues to grow due to the popularity of fast, free shipping and Prime membership.

The second annual survey of more than 1,100 US consumers finds that shoppers are relying on Amazon more than ever -- and their sentiment has grown more positive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shipping Drives Amazon’s Dominance

Since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered widespread store shutdowns in March of 2020 – and since then, consumers have relied on Amazon more than ever. Fast, free shipping and convenience - not necessarily price and selection - are the drivers of Amazon’s success.

  • 4 in 10 (42%) consumers buy the majority of their goods on Amazon - a growth of 83% since the onset of the pandemic.
  • The number of people who buy 75 -100% of their products on Amazon (11%) has doubled over the past year
  • The top 3 reasons people shop at Amazon is ‘fast, free shipping’ (73%), followed by ‘I am an Amazon Prime member’ (67%) and ‘easy and convenient purchase process’ (58%)
  • Nearly half of Americans (49%) shop at Amazon because they ‘trust their packages will be delivered when promised’ and 1 in 5 (19%) choose Amazon for its ‘proactive communication during delivery’.

Consumers Are Positive About Amazon’s Impact

With Amazon providing a lifeline during a year of store shutdowns and safety precautions, more consumers have positive attitudes about the company than previously.

  • More than half of respondents (52%) believe Amazon has a positive impact on the retail industry as a whole, up 14% since the pandemic began.
  • More than a third (36%) now say Amazon has a positive impact on the environment – a jump of 36%. Only 1 in 5 (20%) say Amazon has been bad for the environment - a decrease of 25% over last year.
  • Younger shoppers are more skeptical of Amazon’s impact. When it comes to the environment, 32% of younger shoppers say Amazon has a negative impact.

Small Businesses Lose to Amazon Despite Consumers’ Best Intentions

As COVID-19 restrictions limited, and in many cases eliminated, in-person shopping, Americans pledged to support small businesses. However shipping issues and product costs drove many well-intentioned shoppers to Amazon to complete purchases.

  • Nearly all consumers (95%) feel it is important to support small businesses hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns.
  • However 41% of people who say it is important to support small businesses admit to still purchasing at least half of all their goods and products on Amazon.
  • Higher item cost (35%), higher shipping cost (23%), and longer shipping times (21%) are the top reasons that consumers choose to shop at Amazon over a small business.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 consumers (87%) identify the delivery experience as important to the overall online shopping experience whether on Amazon, small businesses or other sites.

"The pandemic-fueled shift to ecommerce forced shoppers to consider the delivery experience more than ever before – giving the advantage to Amazon and its fast, free delivery network while also exposing some weaknesses of the retail giant," said Carson Krieg, Co-founder and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Convey. “Retailers have an opportunity to combat AMZ scale with agility focused on customer needs such as offering a wide variety of flexible fulfillment options, spotlighting the uniqueness of their brand, and providing proactive, transparent communication during shipping.”