Inriver Study Finds Marketplaces Command Consumer Search

  • Inriver report finds marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are the most common starting point when it comes to buying products online
  • 58% of consumers likely to immediately switch to a competitive product if the original product is out-of-stock
  • 69% of shoppers have decided against buying a product due to poor descriptions

CHICAGO & MALMÖ, Sweden--()--New research from inriver exploring online shopping behaviours and preferences has found that consistent product experiences are vital in driving purchases. The report, “Inside the mind of an online shopper,” is based on a survey of 6,000 consumers across the US, UK and Germany. It found a startling apathy towards brand loyalty, with only 14% of respondents claiming they likely wouldn’t switch to a competitive product if their first choice was unavailable. Combined with marketplaces now being almost 5x more likely a starting point to research products than a brand’s own website, the report explores the various emotional triggers and must-have experiences retailers and product manufacturers should consider.

Move over Google
According to the report, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are now the starting point for 44% of all product research, accounting for the largest share of search, compared to only 19% for search engines themselves. Brands’ own websites comparatively languish, commanding only 9% of initial searches. This trend was particularly pronounced in those aged 18-24, where 52% use marketplaces as their starting point vs 18% search engines.

The disappearance of brand loyalty
With consumers switching brands or websites in an instant if a product is out-of-stock or unavailable, the research also revealed more than two-thirds (69%) of shoppers have decided against buying products generally due to poor descriptions. Combine that with 45% of those surveyed feeling frustrated when faced with bad product information and 82% of shoppers likely to look at multiple locations for information on products, the report highlights how critical it is to optimise all content and ensure consistent and high-quality experiences across all channels.

The foundation of e-commerce success
Brands and retailers need to rely on their product content to do the selling for them with product information becoming a company’s digital front door. The research compounds this with 83% of shoppers agreeing that product information was either an essential or very important factor in purchasing decisions. And it is still written descriptions that is seen as the most important detail (39%), outshining images (24%), customer reviews and ratings (19%), and video (12%).

“It’s no longer good enough to excel across just one or two channels. Consistently high-quality experiences, findability, and availability are a must across all domains or brands and retailers risk losing significant sales. That simply isn’t an option during this year’s Golden Quarter with many expecting this year to reach record numbers,” said Thomas Zanzinger, CEO at inriver. “Brands can no longer rely on their name alone to seal the deal. Loyalty has shifted and brands need to ensure they’re meeting customer expectations both of the product and in the purchase journey to beat stiff competition on the digital shelf.”

For more information on the findings, download inriver’s Inside the mind of an online shopper report here.


This independent survey was conducted by OnePoll between April and May in the U.S and UK and September in Germany in 2021. Insights were collected from 6,000 online shoppers aged 18 – 64 years old from across each region.

About inriver
Inriver empowers organizations to deliver revenue-driving product information at every touchpoint. Inriver’s Digital-first PIM™ enables organizations to bring compelling product stories to life for highly customized purchases, obtain actionable guidance on what influences buying decisions, and then quickly adapt to put insights into action. Inriver helps B2B and B2C organizations turn product information into strategic assets to drive revenue for over 1,600 brands and 600 customers globally. Headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, inriver has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Davao, London, Manila, and Stockholm. For more information, visit


Vicki Cook

Release Summary

New research from inriver exploring online shopping behaviours has found that consistent product experiences are vital in driving purchases


Vicki Cook