When it comes to potential purchases, 30 percent of online shoppers turn to Amazon for research, more than double who chose Google.

The report, titled “Why Amazon Matters Now More Than Ever,” was released by Forrester Research this week. In it, the company outlined Amazon’s strengths and weaknesses.

Google, which saw only 13 percent of shoppers performing pre-purchase research, has slipped significantly from its throne. Two years ago, 24 percent of consumers said they began researching their last purchases through Google, compared to 18 percent on Amazon.

“Amazon is the first stop on the shopping journey for more and more shoppers; in recent years, it appears to have taken market share from search engines like Google, the dominant incumbent in shopping research,” the report said.

This kind of growth is worrisome for retailers, especially small businesses, which are already competing with Amazon’s pricing. If shoppers continue to turn directly to Amazon, e-commerce retailers might need to consider creating a sales channel on the site. Otherwise, you risk missing out on a significant amount of exposure.

And it’s not just the usual suspects (books, e-books, music, and videos) that are experiencing strong growth. Other categories, such as consumer electronics, now make up more than half of Amazon’s total revenue. Fashion, on the other hand, has yet to see prominent success.

It’s unknown what Amazon plans to do in the future, but it’s definitely worth keeping your eye on. In the mean time, it might be worth researching the benefits of becoming an Amazon third-party seller.

[Via: Mashable, Image credit: Carl Malamud]