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Consumers tend to prefer starting their online purchasing research with Amazon rather than Google: 30% of online buyers surveyed say they began researching their most recent online purchase via Amazon, more than twice the proportion (13%) who began their research with Google, according to report by Forrester Research.

Moreover, that's almost a complete reversal from the third quarter of 2009, when 24% of consumers said they began researching previous online purchases at Google, compared with 18% who did so via Amazon.

Below, additional findings from the Forrester report titled "Why Amazon Matters Now More Than Ever."

Amazon's global net sales amounted to $48 billion last year. In the US, its sales have outpaced e-commerce growth as a whole, accounting for 19% of all online sales in the country in 2011, up from 9% in 2001.

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