Walmart.com vs. Amazon.com, who has the better prices? It’s time to settle this once and for all.
These days everyone raves about Amazon.com and how it makes online shopping so easy. But is the ease and convenience clouding your judgement? I’m a guy who has no problem sacrificing a little convenience for a better price. Darn near every time actually. I mean seriously, it’s not like the Walmart website is some relic tucked away in the technology display at the Smithsonian museum. Or is it? More on that later.
So I figured it was time to lace up the gloves and throw Amazon and Walmart into the ring and figure out which retailer is cheaper. The rules are simple. I took 21 random products and priced them at both websites and tallied up the total price to find our winner. While this was very unscientific, the results were very interesting and can definitely help you make better buying decisions moving forward.
The overall winner by $45.40 was Walmart.com. Amazon actually won more battles with 11, but Walmart won the overall war. In the end, the overall dollar amount was very close and what I learned was very interesting and worth sharing.
Electronics: Winner is Amazon.com
Walmart had consistently better prices on televisions than Amazon.com. But Amazon definitely had a better selection. The Roku 3 streaming media player was a surprise in terms of price as Amazon beat Walmart by $13. The biggest takeaway is that when shopping for electronics other than TV’s, Amazon tended to have better prices.
House Stuff: Winner is Walmart.com
Clearly, this is the category that allowed Walmart to win this smackdown. I was really surprised to find that Walmart sold the KitchenAid Stand Mixer for $45 less than Amazon. At first I thought it may be an inferior model but after some investigative work it turned out to be the same product.
Then the Cuisinart bread maker for $20 less was a bit surprising. Walmart must buy both products in incredible volume and make the manufacturer sell it for substantially less. This is a ploy that Walmart has been doing for years.
Toys: Winner is Walmart.com
This battle was fairly even with Walmart winning in the end thanks to the deal on the popular Christmas toy, Big Hugs Elmo. Walmart is notorious for trying to predict what the hot toys for Christmas are going to be and pricing them low enough to entice shoppers into the store.
They know that once they get consumers in the toy aisle they’re probably going to buy a bunch of other stuff at full price. So if your child asks for a popular, and thus hard-to-find, toy this Christmas be sure to check Walmart.com first.
Sporting Goods: Winner is Amazon.com
With three kids playing youth sports right now, this one was not a shocker to me. I have been finding good deals on sporting goods from Amazon for several years now. Amazon actually won all three price battles and I believe that if I had picked 100 products Amazon would have won 90% of them.
Books: Call it a Tie
The one was pretty even. If you’re buying new hardcover books, especially best-sellers, the prices are almost identical between Amazon and Walmart. If you are buying box sets like the complete Harry Potter set of 7 then Walmart consistently offers the better price.
But if you are looking for the best selection, Amazon.com is the clear winner with over 12 million books for sale. Yep, you read that correctly, 12,000,000 titles.
Music: Winner is Amazon.com
While the dollar amounts were fairly close, Amazon won 2 of the battles and the other was a tie. This one actually kind of surprised me as I thought for sure the new Katy Perry album would be cheaper at Walmart. I figured they could buy 10 zillion of them and pass the savings along to the shopper.
Not the case, at least with that one example. Older CD’s were consistently cheaper at Amazon.com as they have a huge online selection of titles that sell for a paltry $5. Five bucks is definitively music to my ears. Sorry, cheesy huh? I just couldn’t resist.
More Key Takeaways
- The Walmart website sucks out loud! Apparently the Walmart site was designed by the same folks currently working on HealthCare.gov. While they may have won this battle, their website froze on me a couple times and their search feature is very antiquated in comparison to Amazon.com. I felt like Amazon did a better job bringing me immediately to the product I was looking for while the Walmart site on occasion made me wade through a couple pages of search results to find the product. The search feature only worked well when I entered the exact model number of the product. This is ridiculous as I’m not always going to have that information in front of me. Walmart definitely has work to do on their website.
- The Shipping Factor. Amazon.com offers free shipping on most orders over $35 (this is just up from $25) while Walmart offers free shipping on orders over $50 but free ship-to-store on all orders. Slight advantage to Amazon.com. It is also worth noting that if you are an Amazon Prime member you get free 2-day shipping on all purchases. I have talked about their Prime membership before and have broken it down in-depth. Click here to see my article as it will help you determine whether Amazon Prime makes sense for you.
- The Intangibles. Amazon.com definitely beats Walmart in the “Intangibles” category. What I mean by that are things like product reviews, product images, related items, and item descriptions. I will often check out product reviews on Amazon.com whether I am buying from them or not. I realize that some of the reviews might be fake, and some are completely hilarious, but it gives me a good overall feel for user satisfaction.
Ask the Reader: Where would you rather shop – Amazon.com or Walmart.com? How much of your decision is influenced by price and how much is influenced by ease and convenience? As always, I look forward to your comments.
By Kyle James