Uk written article but the subject crosses the pond.

More than half, 52%, of shoppers purchase their electronics goods from mass merchants like Department stores get 8% of online purchases and auction sites 18%.

With more than three quarters of shoppers (83%) conducting online product research before they purchase electronics goods, the most important sources of information are specialist retailers’ websites (56%), followed by search engines (43%), price comparison websites (21%), consumer reviews (19%) and friends, family members or colleagues outside of a social network site (12%).
“Specialist retailers are doing a great job on delivering the most extensive product ranges and detailed information, but it’s clear this isn’t enough. With growing pressure to increase sales, they need to look at the entire consumer journey to determine where and why consumers leave before checkout, and overhaul their overall online strategies to improve conversion rates.”

45% of shoppers claim to compare prices at various online retailers before making the purchase and 51% of shoppers received free delivery on their purchases. A third (37%) of shoppers read online consumer reviews.
Looks to me that affiliates can bridge the gap between a merchant site and the consumer. To do this they need to have a level playing field with free shipping and the same pricing as Amazon.

Full article here: