From Checking Out to Checkout: What Makes Amazon Customers Buy?

This study explores the different factors that come into play when Amazon customers make buying decisions. It gives insights to third-party sellers about what customers prefer and how they respond to changes in product listings.

Key Insights


More than half of the Amazon customers surveyed admitted to lying about their reasons for returning products.


Majority of Amazon customers prefer Amazon products to products sold by third-party sellers.


Prime Day is a big deal for a lot of customers, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when they tend to loosen the purse strings.

Customers would rather buy from Amazon than from third-party sellers.

Results bolster the long-standing view that third-party sellers are playing at a disadvantage against Amazon—Congressional hearings previously revealed that Amazon uses aggregated seller data to develop its own private label brands and gives its brands preferential treatment in advertising placements. More than 74% of customers prefer products which Ship from Amazon and are Sold by Amazon than those shipped or sold by a non-Amazon company—ergo third-party marketplace sellers. 18% do not care whether the products come from Amazon or not, while only 7% say they prefer to purchase from 3P sellers.

I am more likely to buy a product if it “Ships from Amazon” and is “Sold by Amazon” as opposed to “Sold by [non-Amazon company]"

More than half of Amazon customers admitted lying about the reasons for their returns to avoid paying return shipping.

Over 50% of respondents admitted to deliberately misstating their reason for returning an item in order to avoid paying return shipping. On Amazon, customers must pay for return shipping in most categories if they simply changed their mind after purchase. This confirms sellers’ worries about being taken advantage of by paying for the return shipping label and refunding customers even before they received the returned product. According to the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail, on average, online sellers got 16.6% of their products returned in 2021, compared to just 10.6% in 2020.

This is an even bigger problem today, especially for FBM sellers who are required to at least match Amazon’s return policies.

Have you ever selected a different reason (e.g. defective, arrived later than expected, etc.) in order to avoid paying return?

Majority of Amazon customers spend more during Black Friday/ Cyber Monday compared to Prime Day.

When asked during which e-commerce event they’re most likely to spend more money, only 29% of respondents said Prime Day while 59% answered Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

During which online e-commerce event do you spend more money?

Consumers look for bargains, not great reviews.

When asked which factor is most important when deciding to buy products on Amazon, 52% of consumers say that a good price influences their buying decision most. Good price plays a much bigger role in purchases than Number of reviews or Good star rating

This is a huge challenge for startups and new sellers, as lower prices could translate to minimal (or even no) profit margins when launching new products on Amazon. For established sellers, more focus may be given to being able to offer the most competitive prices instead of soliciting positive product reviews from customers.

Biggest factor in customers’ buying decision

Consumers check detailed seller information.

More than 2/3 of customers actually check Detailed Seller Information when considering buying products on Amazon. Therefore, sellers should provide particular information, particularly location, on this page. Inversely, customers are likely put off when there is little to no seller information provided.

Do you check Detailed Seller Information before making a purchase?

9 out of 10 shoppers check product reviews.

Although a good price is the biggest factor in purchase decisions, reviews are nevertheless important. Only 7% of customers don’t look at product reviews, whereas 47% consider positive reviews to affect buying decisions, while 32% say that positive and negative reviews factor equally in their decision.

These reviews are most likely to affect my purchase decision:

62% of buyers check whether a listing is Sponsored.

The “Sponsored” label may have a grayer and smaller font, but the majority of customers check if a particular listing is a Sponsored ad or not before clicking on it.

Do you check if the product in the search results page is Sponsored before you click on it?

Star rating affects buying decisions more than the number of ratings and badges.

There is a significant difference in the number of people who are more likely to purchase a product with a 5-star rating compared to ones with 3- and 1-star ratings. However, we did not see a similar trend when testing listings with different numbers of reviews and badges. There is no statistical difference in the likelihood of a consumer to purchase a product with more than a thousand ratings compared to one that only has 30. In addition, our data also showed there was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood to purchase based on having either an Amazon’s Choice badge or a #1 Best Seller Badge.

Likelihood to purchase based on presence of badge

Likelihood to purchase based on presence of badge

Likelihood to purchase based on presence of badge



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