Is It Cheaper to Shop at Amazon, Walmart, or Target? The Answer Might Surprise You.

updated Jun 25, 2019
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We’re all big fans of a good Amazon Prime deal around here. There’s nothing like clicking that checkout button and having a half-dozen insulated wine glasses or a donut-shaped pool float show up to your house two days later, in times of dire need. Of course, Amazon isn’t the only name in the game.

Retailers like Target and Walmart are upping their e-commerce offerings to compete with Amazon and keep their hats in the virtual ring. This means better deals and prices, more competitive offerings, and unique shipping deals. But which is the cheapest?

To figure that out, the experts at LendEDU, a financial site dedicated to helping students and graduates better manage their money, compared the prices of 50 identical, commonly bought items from the three retailers. The ultimate goal was to find out where online shoppers at each of these three retailers get the biggest bang for their buck. Here’s what they found.

The 50 items purchased fell into five categories: home goods, food and beverage, kitchen/appliances, technology and entertainment, and miscellaneous. LendEDU compared Walmart and Target prices to Amazon as the baseline for everything in total and then further analyzed price comparisons for each of the five categories. Let’s break it down.

For home goods alone, Walmart’s prices were slightly cheaper than Amazon. Target remained more expensive than both. For one item in particular though, Walmart and Target were a better bet than Amazon: Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Hand Soap Refill was cheaper at those retailers by nearly 20 percent.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to purchase kitchen appliances, Amazon is the way to go. On average Target and Walmart are nearly 10 percent more expensive than Amazon per item. So if you need to buy a Char-Broil Classic Burner Gas Grill, for example, do it on Amazon — you’ll save between 7 and 30 percent!

For straight-up food and beverage items, the LendEDU team determined that Target prices, on the whole, were 7 percent less expensive than Amazon, while Walmart was only 5 percent.

On a whole, if you were to purchase all 50 of the items at once, the cheapest retailer (by a hair) is Walmart. The Walmart cart ended up costing 1.79 percent less than the exact same Amazon cart. Perhaps not so surprisingly, Target was almost a percentage point more expensive than Amazon, making Walmart the obvious choice for super-big hauls.

The takeaway: E-commerce giants are becoming more and more competitive with each other, so do your research and you could save big!

Do you have a favorite of these three retailers? Leave your vote in the comments below!