DETROIT – In an era of serial comparison shopping, Amazon.com Inc. has seemed unassailable. Yet for many kinds of merchandise – the first-season DVDs of “Glee,” say – shoppers can get a better deal at Walmart stores, both online or at a superstore.
A study conducted by Kantar Retail, a London-based research firm, compared prices on a wide range of 36 items and found that on average they’re 20 percent more expensive at Amazon than at Walmart. The “Glee” DVDs? At $38.99, they were about $14 pricier at Amazon than Walmart when the study was conducted in April. On goods such as food, Amazon’s prices were almost 60 percent more, though some items are cheaper, the study said.
Consumers “trust Amazon will have a low price,” said Anne Zybowski, a Kantar analyst who co-wrote the study. “On many items, they do have competitive prices. That’s how Amazon has won millions of customers one shopper at a time.”
Still, when it comes to controlling prices, Amazon is playing catch-up with Walmart, which has been building its supply base, wringing costs from its vendors and amassing buying power for 50 years. Amazon is working on bringing in new vendors and lowering costs in its supply chain, Zybowski said.
Kantar did the study for the first time after watching Walmart’s core shoppers moving to the Web at a faster clip, said Robin Sherk, who co-wrote the study. Five years ago, only about a quarter of Walmart’s customers shopped at Amazon, according to another Kantar survey. Now half say they do.
Kantar looked at Walmart.com and visited a Supercenter in a New Hampshire suburb that Kantar declined to identify, chosen because it’s not in the middle of nowhere and it’s not in a city and therefore was deemed representative of a typical Walmart store.
The prices don’t include shipping.