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Blog Posts, Cellphone & Computing, Consumer Electronics, Durable IQ™, Small Appliances

Head-to-Head (to Head): Walmart vs Best Buy vs Amazon

January 26, 2022
Ashley Jefferson Author 5 mins read
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This article was originally published on February 12, 2018. It has been updated to reflect current market trends. You can read the original article here.

It’s time for a good, old-fashioned showdown! We decided to examine how Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy compare with one another in three competitive categories: Consumer Electronics, Small Kitchen Appliances, and Cell Phones. We will look at both total and online-only sales within each category. Online options have become a vital component for shopping due to the ongoing pandemic.

Consumer Electronics:

Encompassing purchases of everything from laptops and e-readers to video game systems and wi-fi routers, American consumers spent an average of $315 per product in the 4 quarters ending September 2021. Here, we break down how consumers shopped at these three retailers.

The Winner:

In unit share, Walmart is slightly ahead of its competitors. The retailer currently wins 21.3 percent of unit share in Q3 of 2021. This most recent quarter was one of significant growth for the retailer. Amazon takes second place with 21.1 percent of the unit share. Best Buy is third with 20 percent. For dollar share, Best Buy’s and Walmart’s positions reverse. Best Buy takes home 27 percent of consumer dollars as compared to Walmart’s 15.1 percent. Amazon takes home 14.8 percent of total consumer dollars.

The Online Winner:

Online, consumers spend an average of $322 per product. Once brick-and-mortar purchases are filtered out, Amazon is victorious. In the 4 quarters ending September 2021, The Everything Store took home 41.6 percent of the Consumer Electronics unit share. In comparison, Best Buy won 13.8 percent and Walmart won 11 percent. Additionally, Amazon and Best Buy tend to gain or lose share at the sake of one another. In the last 2 quarters, Amazon’s share has risen significantly while Best Buy’s has fallen. In the 2 quarters previous to that, their roles were reversed. Some of this change may be due to availability of products, as the consumer electronics industry has been hard hit by chip shortages.

Small Kitchen Appliances:

In the 4 quarters ending September 2021, consumers spent an average of $69 on Small Kitchen Appliances like coffee makers, blenders, toaster ovens, and more. Here’s how Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy stack up when consumers go shopping for Small Kitchen Appliances.

The Winner:

With just under 34.5 percent of the Small Kitchen Appliance unit share, Walmart is the clear winner. But Amazon is gaining ground, coming up 3.6 percentage points year-over-year. In 2021, Amazon wins nearly 21.2 percent of unit share. Best Buy trails behind the other two retailers, winning 2.2 percent of share. In terms of dollar share, Amazon has surpassed Walmart and brings home 25 percent of consumer dollars. Walmart comes in second, with Best Buy much further behind.

The Online Winner:

Online shoppers spent an average of $83 on Small Kitchen Appliances. Amazon dominates online sales in this category. In the 4 quarters ending September 2021, the e-commerce behemoth took home just over half (51 percent) of the online unit sales of Small Kitchen Appliances. Walmart comes in a distant second with just over 12 percent of online unit share. Best Buy’s online-only shares are comparable to its overall unit shares—winning 2.5 percent. This same pattern holds true in dollar shares.

Cell Phones:

The average price paid for Cell Phones, whether through a carrier or from a retailer or manufacturer, is $469. The majority of American consumers buy cell phones from mobile carriers rather than from other outlets. That said, Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy all rank in the top 10 outlets for Cell Phone Purchases.

The Winner:

In terms of unit share, Walmart edges out the competition with 8.5 percent of share in 2021. Amazon comes in a few places behind with 4.4 percent of share, and Best Buy slipped to third with 4.1 percent unit share. In terms of dollar share, Best Buy brings home 5.1 percent of consumer dollars, while Amazon and Walmart trail with almost 3.4 percent and 3.2 percent dollar share, respectively.

The Online Winner:

When shopping online for cell phones, consumers spend an average of $477. Once brick-and-mortar sales are filtered out, Amazon becomes the clear leader among the three retailers. It takes home 12.2 percent of the online unit share and almost 9 percent of dollar share. Walmart and Best Buy take home 4 and almost 3 percent of the online unit share, respectively.

The Champion(s):

In all three categories—Consumer Electronics, Small Kitchen Appliances, and Cell Phones—Walmart wins the top prize in taking home unit share. Despite this edge, Best Buy gives Walmart a good run for its money and often outdoes its rival for dollar share. For example, the average price paid for Consumer Electronics is $200 higher at Best Buy than it is at Walmart. While a different category mix might tell a different story, it is clear that each retailer has its strengths.

Online, it is still Amazon’s game. The e-tailer comes out on top in all three categories. However, the last 18 months have seen a rapid shift in consumers embracing online shopping. Retailers with responsive sites and product on hand will have an advantage. Want to know how you stack up against other major retailers? Contact the team at TraQline today to learn more with industry-wide consumer behavior and competitive insights.