Introducing Durables Digest: Your Go-To Podcast for Consumer Durables News

Competitive Business Intelligence


February 12, 2018
Ashley Jefferson Author 4 mins read
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It’s time for a good, old-fashioned show-down! We’re going to take a look at how Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy compare with one another in three categories: Consumer Electronics, Small Kitchen Appliances, and Cell Phones. We’ll look at both total and online-only sales within each category.

Consumer Electronics:

Encompassing everything from laptops and e-readers to video game systems and wi-fi routers, American consumers spent an average of $275 per product in the 4 quarters ending December 2017. Here, we break down how consumers shopped at these three retailers:

The Winner: In unit share, Walmart and Best Buy are neck-and-neck, with 26% of the unit share in 2017. However, Walmart has seen significant growth for the last two years. Amazon is just behind them with 10% of the unit share. In terms of dollars, however, Best Buy is the clear winner. They take home 33% of consumer dollars, as compared to Walmart’s 21% and Amazon’s 9%.

The Online Winner: Once brick and mortar purchases are filtered out, Amazon is victorious. In 2017, the Everything Store took home 35% of the unit share, compared to Best Buy’s 17% and Walmart’s 15%. However, Amazon’s unit share has been falling, while both Best Buy’s and Walmart’s shares have increased significantly over last year.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BYSmall Kitchen Appliances:

In the four quarters ending December 2017, consumers spent an average of $60 for small appliances like coffee makers, blenders, toaster ovens, etc. Here’s how Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart stack up when consumers go shopping for small kitchen appliances:

The Winner: With just over 1/3 of the small kitchen appliance unit share, Walmart is the runaway winner. But with seven consecutive quarters of significant growth, Amazon is catching up. 2017, Amazon wins almost 14% of unit share. Best Buy trails behind the other two retailers, winning just under 2% of unit share. In terms of dollar share, Walmart is still leading the way, with Amazon and Best Buy behind.

The Online Winner: Amazon dominates online sales of small kitchen appliances. Last year, the e-commerce behemoth took home 49% of the online unit sales of small kitchen appliances. Walmart comes in a distant second with just over 10% of online unit sales share. Best Buy’s online only shares are comparable to its overall unit shares, with almost 2% of unit share. This same pattern holds true in dollar shares.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BYCell Phones:

The majority of American consumers purchase their cell phones directly from mobile carriers, rather than from other outlets. That being said, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon all crack the top 10 outlets for cell phone purchases in the United States:

The Winner: In terms of unit share, Walmart edges out the competition with just over 8% in 2017. Best Buy comes in a few places behind, with a little over 6% of the unit share. Amazon trails a bit behind, getting almost 4% of the unit share. In dollar share, Best Buy brings home over 7% of consumer dollars, while Walmart and Amazon trail behind with 4% and 3% dollar share respectively.

The Online Winner: Once brick & mortar sales for Walmart and Best Buy are filtered out, Amazon becomes the clear winner between the three, taking home 15% of the unit share online, and 12% of the dollar share. Walmart and Best Buy trail behind, taking home almost 5% and 4% of the online unit share respectively.

The Champion(s):

In the three categories we’ve looked at here, Walmart takes home the prize in terms of unit shares. However, Best Buy gives Walmart a good run for its money, and frequently outdoes its rival in terms of dollar share. While a different category mix might tell a different story, it’s clear that each retailer has its strength

Online, it’s still Amazon’s game. The e-tailer is dominant in all three categories. However, as more retailers turn to omni-channel solutions, there will be increased competition. We can already see a little of that in the gains that Best Buy and Walmart have made for consumer electronics sales.