In the retail world, it’s all about beating out the competition. And if you can offer the lowest prices and thus lure the most customers, well then you’re the winningest of all. A new analysis of retailers has come up with a big old carrot of motivation by saying Amazon has cheaper online prices for toys than major chains like Walmart and Target. Let the price wars begin, just in time for the holiday season.
A Bloomberg Industries analysis found that Amazon had lower prices than Walmart on 44% of 125 randomly selected toys, and Walmart got the jump on Amazon only 13% of the time. The two pulled even on the remaining items.
Walmart shouldn’t be too cranky about being behind Amazon — even though it led last year’s pricing in the study for most of the holiday season and lost that this year — it still beat Target, Sears, Kmart and Toys “R” Us on over 80% of toys.
These results come at a particularly stressful time for stores, as toys are one of the most popular items shoppers are looking for, along with electronics. There’s also the pressure to make sure there are plenty of the most sought-after toys in retailers’ inventories, because if you sell out of an item and can’t get it back in stock, that’s a potential sale opportunity down the drain.
Everyone is better off this year, as all of the chains had higher levels of inventory in the new study. Amazon, Kmart and Toys “R” Us weren’t out of any toys online, Walmart was missing 3% of the items and Target didn’t have 8%. Not too shabby for this time of year, but come Christmas, that story could change.
The lesson for consumers here is: Shop early, shop online and don’t whine when you can’t find the most popular toy in all the world on Christmas Eve.