An eBay survey conducted this month on online shopping behavior revealed its concern over rivals, particularly Amazon, Google and Craigslist, and revealed which retailers it considered to be its top competitors in various categories. The survey asked eBay buyers how they rated eBay and Amazon.com on price and value, and how buyers used Google when making purchases - including whether they bought directly through Google. The comprehensive survey also covered auction behavior.
The main areas the eBay survey covered included:
- the types of products buyers purchased in seven categories;
- where they made purchases (including online and offline venues);
- how much they spent in each category;
- the proportion spent on new versus refurbished or used products in each category;
One question asked how respondents used Google in their purchases, with the following choices:
- the factors that influenced their decisions.
- Bought directly through Google;
- Searched for the category (E.g. searched for "MP3 players") to find a retailer or review;
- Searched for the product or brand (e.g. searched for "Ipod Touch") to find a retailer or review;
- Searched for a price comparison site that I could use to help me research my purchase;
- None of the above.
eBay asked respondents how they browsed and how they researched to learn more about products in each of seven categories, and gave them the choice of "Browsed and researched online; Browsed and researched offline; Browsed and researched both online and offline; or none of the above."
eBay had several questions devoted to auctions: "Now thinking about all purchases made in the last year from eBay, how did you buy?" (Only by auction, Only by fixed price, A mix of auction and fixed price, No purchases made on eBay in the last year); "Of the purchases that you made on eBay in the last year what proportion of the value of your spend was through auctions?" (<10%, 10-20%, 21-40%, 41-60%, 61%+); and "When shopping online (include all shopping-related activities: browsing, researching, comparing prices, purchasing), how often do you participate in auctions?" (Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Almost always).
The seven categories covered by the survey included Consumer Electronics; Apparel; Home and Garden; Media; Collectibles; Vehicle Parts and Accessories; and Other ("e.g. Sporting goods, Toys & Games, Jewelry & Watches, Musical Instruments").
eBay asked shoppers where they purchased from in each of the categories, and listed as options: Traditional store (e.g., retailer that only has traditional stores and no website); In store from a retailer that has both traditional stores and a website (e.g., in a Best Buy store); From the website of a retailer that has both traditional stores and a website (e.g., from Best Buy online); From the website of a pure play online retailer (e.g. eBay, Amazon); Classifieds websites; Other classifieds (e.g. newspapers).
Two questions were quite revealing about who eBay considers to be a competitive threat. The survey asked buyers which two stores they most preferred to make online purchases of Refurbished Consumer Electronics products from, and gave the choice of Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Buy.com, Dell, eBay, Overstock, RadioShack, Target and Wal-Mart.
The other question was, "From which store/web site have you made an on-line purchase of any of these products in the last year?" and it listed various online and offline retailers from which respondents could choose in each category, as follows:
eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Buy.com, Newegg, Best Buy, Apple, Craigslist, Target, Overstock, TigerDirect, RadioShack, Sonystyle, Dell, Gamestop, Other.
eBay, Amazon, Macy's, JC Penny, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Zappos.com, Craigslist, Target, Overstock, Nordstrom, Gap, J Crew, Sierra trading post, QVC, Other.
Home and Garden
eBay, Amazon, Macy's, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, Home depot, Craigslist, Costco, QVC, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Williams-Sonoma, Other.
eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Buy.com, Blockbuster, Barnes and Noble, Gamestop, Craigslist, Target, Overstock, Google, Other.
eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Bonanzle, RubyLane, Etsy, Other.
Vehicle Parts and Accessories
eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Autozone.com, JC whitney, Autopartswarehouse, Other.
eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Wal-Mart, Buy.com, Best Buy, Newegg, Macy's, JC Penny, Target, Sears, Overstock, Gamestop, Barnes and Noble, Autopartswarehouse, Bidstart.com, Google, Other.
One question asked buyers about the types of marketing they had been exposed to in the month prior to making their most recent purchase. There were a variety of options listed in the following categories: Comparison Sites; Direct Mail & Email; Search Engines; Internet Marketing; Web Pages; and Word of Mouth.
eBay rarely shares in-depth results of surveys, although one could surmise by the questions that eBay was clearly trying to get a handle on how shoppers make purchasing decisions.