The Elephant in the Room: Amazon vs Walmart Market Share

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It can be hard to escape the constant comparisons of Amazon vs. Walmart. The two behemoth retailers seem locked in a perpetual battle for market share for everything from laundry soap to headphones. The back-and-forth we often see in the news about which retailer is bigger made us wonder what light TraQline data could shed on how the two retail giants are performing compared to one another.

Amazon’s presence in e-commerce cannot be overstated; they have managed to build an empire in the online space. According to TraQline’s Q2 2019 data, across the 270+ consumer durables we track, almost 44 percent of online purchases were made on Amazon. Walmart was the second most common online outlet, winning only 8 percent share for all consumer durables tracked by TraQline. Looking beyond online at the entire market, Walmart tops the list with 18 percent of the unit share for all durables purchased, but Amazon still remains competitive with a respectable 10 percent of purchases made and growing. This means approximately three out of every ten consumer durables are being purchased at Walmart or through Amazon. Below we have highlighted a few categories in which Amazon and Walmart directly compete.

Amazon vs Walmart Market Share in Consumer Electronics

Approximately 30 percent of consumer electronics such as televisions, speakers, cameras, and video game systems are purchased online. Amazon has maintained consistent leadership in e-commerce for these products. In the last ten years, it has grown from 30 percent of all online Consumer Electronics purchases to 50 percent. While Amazon climbs, Walmart has remained fairly flat over the past decade hovering at, or just above, 10 percent despite their acquisition of Jet.com – a move intended to provide a competitive edge against Amazon, especially among wealthier consumers.

Looking at all consumer electronics purchases data, not just those made online, a slightly different story emerges. Both Amazon and Walmart have grown their share over the past decade. However, due to a large percentage of products still being purchased in-store, Walmart has consistently held a larger share of the market. Since 2009, Walmart has grown from 22 percent of the market share to almost 27 percent. Amazon, by contrast, holds a smaller percentage of the overall market but with faster growth. The e-tailer has grown from 6 percent of the entire market to 15 percent in 2019.

Amazon vs Walmart Market Share in Consumer Comforts

Air comfort and quality products (which includes items like dehumidifiers, electric air cleaners, and portable heaters) are another area where Walmart outpaces Amazon—at least when taking into account both brick & mortar and online sales. For the past decade, Walmart has maintained nearly 30 percent of the overall consumer comfort market. However, even considering that the majority of its sales are online only, Amazon has grown leaps and bounds over the past decade, from about 2 percent in 2009 to almost 15 percent in 2019.

That consistent growth can also be seen in the online marketplace. While Walmart has hovered around the 12 percent share of the consumer comforts market, Amazon has grown from 19 percent to 55 percent since 2009.

While the disparity in total share is still significant, should this category continue to see online growth, Amazon may be poised to continue its overall share growth and pose a significant threat to Walmart.

Amazon vs Walmart Market Share in Small Appliances

Walmart has seen growth recently in small appliance sales across both channels – growing from 32 percent to nearly 37 percent of the market share in the last decade. The retailer has maintained its edge on the competition, though other retailers are beginning to gain on them. For example, Amazon has also seen growth, expanding from 3 percent of the total market share in 2009 to 15 percent of the market in 2019.

When looking at online shares of small appliances, Walmart and Amazon’s roles have been nearly reversed. Amazon’s growth is still apparent over the past decade, with their share of the online small appliance market growing from just under 29 percent in 2009 to almost 53 percent in 2019. Walmart has grown its position as well, going from 4 percent market share in 2009 to almost 12 percent in 2019.

Amazon vs Walmart – Market Share in Grocery

While TraQline does not track consumer package goods or food products, grocery sales are still a point of contention between Walmart and Amazon. In fact, Amazon specifically acquired Whole Foods in order to get a foothold into the market, as well as gain a more robust physical presence in the US. However, Whole Foods makes up a very small percentage of the brick and mortar grocery market. DigitalCommerce360 noted studies that found as of last year, Whole Foods won 2 percent of the brick and mortar market to Walmart’s almost 26 percent market share.

As consumers become more comfortable with the idea of purchasing their groceries online, Amazon is reaping the benefits. They currently account for approximately 30 percent of online grocery sales. However, Walmart is working hard to catch up—per an article by eMarketer, they grew their share more rapidly in 2018 than Amazon did, and consumers prefer the option to “Buy Online, Pick Up In Store” (or at the curb, as it were). Amazon’s lack of a physical footprint means that online orders are more typically delivered to people’s homes, though they’ve been pioneering leaving orders in consumers’ trunks, garages, or inside the front door, leveraging partnerships with other companies, as well as their own smart home integrations.

And the winner is…?

As Amazon and Walmart battle for market share, both have been transformative players in American consumers’ lives. As The Verge has written, the moves they make in the market will change how shoppers in the US buy everything from packaged goods to home furniture. Currently, Walmart maintains an edge on Amazon due to its deep physical footprints and proximity to the average shopper. When looking at just online sales, Amazon still has a significant lead. Walmart has acquired other companies like Jet.Com, and clothing stores such as Bonobos and Modcloth in order to be more competitive, but they have yet to make a large dent in Amazon’s lead. At the same time, Amazon is expanding its physical presence after having been an online only company for most of its history. Whoever wins this battle for market share will be accessible to shoppers however they choose to shop: whether that is online or in a physical store.