Amazon and Walmart: a pair of retail behemoths, each of which claims to be the one-stop-shopping retailer of your dreams — and the cheapest, too.
It ain’t necessarily so, according to a recent study from LendEDU. The financial products website examined both retailers’ everyday prices for 50 items in five categories: food and beverages, home goods, technology and entertainment, kitchen and home appliances, and miscellaneous items.
Most of the time, the winner was Walmart. If all 50 items were bought at Amazon, the total cost would be 10.37 percent more expensive — and that doesn’t include shipping costs.
In terms of food and beverages, though, Amazon wiped the floor with Sam Walton’s store: It was 22.51 percent less expensive than Walmart.
The study authors suggest this is part of Amazon’s ongoing effort to lure away food shoppers by getting them interested in the ease of online grocery orders. Given that Amazon has both Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh options (and bought Whole Foods in June 2017), the authors might be correct.
Both Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh charge for delivery. Amazon Prime members don’t have to pay shipping costs for qualifying items (including some shelf-stable food products); nonmembers can get free shipping by purchasing at least $35 worth of products.
Walmart patrons can also get free shipping for orders of $35 or more, and the retailer offers two other options:
- Curbside grocery pickup: Place an order online, use an app to let the store know you’re outside, and the food gets brought to your car.
- In-store pickup: You can place an online order and arrange to retrieve it from a Walmart store in your area.
And now, let’s take a closer look at what Walmart does better than Amazon:
1. Dixie paper plates (150-count)
Amazon price: $22.90
Walmart price: $10.97
Difference: 108.75 percent
2. Bounty paper towels (12-pack of super rolls)
Amazon price: $34.86
Walmart price: $21.97
Difference: 58.67 percent
3. Reynolds Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil (75 square feet)
Amazon price: $5.69
Walmart price: $3.58
Difference: 58.94 percent
4. Dyson v6 cordless vacuum
Amazon price: $355.00
Walmart price: $175.00
Difference: 102.86 percent
5. Stanley Tools 6-piece vinyl-grip screwdriver set
Amazon price: $29.99
Walmart price: $15.11
Difference: 98.48 percent
6. Red Solo Cups (50-pack)
Amazon price: $9.00
Walmart price: $3.88
Difference: 131.96 percent
7. Rachael Ray 15-piece cookware set
Amazon price: $120.59
Walmart price: $99.00
Difference: 21.81 percent
8. Samsung 55-inch 1080p smart TV
Amazon price: $596.44
Walmart price: $547.99
Difference: 8.84 percent
9. Equate 200 mg ibuprofen tablets (1,000 count)
Amazon price: $15.45
Walmart price: $12.97
Difference: 19.12 percent
10. Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 Black Luxe Edition headphones
Amazon price: $129.99
Walmart price: $89.10
Difference: 45.89 percent
11. Igloo 28-quart Island Breeze cooler
Amazon price: $29.53
Walmart price: $17.47
Difference: 69.03 percent
12. Stanley Rip Claw fiberglass hammer
Amazon price: $12.99
Walmart price: $7.88
Difference: 64.85 percent
13. Scotch Magic Tape, ½-inch by 450 inches (2-pack)
Amazon price: $5.79
Walmart price: $4.95
Difference: 16.97 percent
14. Keystone Energy Star dehumidifier (50 pint)
Amazon price: $179.00
Walmart price: $164.52
Difference: 8.80 percent
15. Brita large 10-cup water pitcher (with filter)
Amazon price: $39.99
Walmart price: $31.19
Difference: 28.21 percent
16. ProForm Performance 400i treadmill
Amazon price: $599.98
Walmart price: $549.99
Difference: 9.09 percent
17. MD Sports pingpong table
Amazon price: $128.00
Walmart price: $109.00
Difference: 17.43 percent
18. Black + Decker 6-slice convection toaster oven
Amazon price: $53.51
Walmart price: $42.96
Difference: 24.56 percent
19. Symphony black beveled wall mirror (28 x 34 inches)
Amazon price: $42.95
Walmart price: $24.99
Difference: 71.87 percent
20. Keurig k425 single-serve coffeemaker
Amazon price: $145.99
Walmart price: $129.99
Difference: 12.31 percent
More ways to save
Knowing that these retailers are competing for your loyalty gives you an edge. While you shouldn’t drive 25 miles out of your way to save $3 at a Walmart, you should keep these tactics in mind:
Cash-back shopping: With both Amazon and Walmart, you can shop through a shopping portal like Ebates, Mr. Rebates and Dollar Dig. That means getting cash rebates of up to 3.75 percent (and sometimes more during special promotions) on your orders. Not all Amazon categories are eligible for cash back, however.
Price comparison tool: Sites like PriceGrabber, NexTag and PriceJump will run the numbers for you. Make sure the best price includes shipping, and check whether the retailer can be accessed through a cash-back site.
Shipping codes; If free shipping isn’t offered, go to a site like RetailMeNot or Savings.com and type in the name of the retailer. Even if there’s no free shipping, you might get a percentage-off coupon that makes up for having to pay postage.
Discounted gift cards: Buy these on the secondary market or get them at warehouse clubs. You’ll save anywhere from 3 to 30 percent (or maybe more).
Match coupons and sales: When there’s just a small difference between online and in-store deals on grocery, health and beauty, and pet products, you might be able to get as good a deal by using a coupon at a brick-and-mortar store. This is especially easy to do if you download the retailer’s coupons onto your store loyalty card — no clipping needed. Check out websites like CouponMom.com or AFullCup.com for weekly sale-plus-coupon matchups for drugstores, supermarkets, discount retailers and dollar stores. These sites have links to e-coupons and, if you’re still a Q-clipper, the dates when coupons ran in the newspaper.
For lots of great ways to save and manage your money, be sure to subscribe to Money Talks News.