Amazon gains among electronics shoppers, says survey

Amazon.com has gained ground on Best Buy in consumers’ perceptions about where to buy electronic goods, suggests survey data from Retrevo Inc., a consumer-review web site for electronics.

Zak Stambor

Amazon.com Inc. has gained ground on Best Buy Co. in consumers’ perceptions about where to buy electronic goods, suggest survey data from consumer electronics comparison shopping engine Retrevo Inc.

When asked, “When you think about buying electronics, who comes to mind first?” 40% named Best Buy, 15% named Amazon.com and 14% named Wal-Mart Stores Inc. However, Best Buy’s percentage dropped four percentage points from 2008, while Amazon gained four percentage points. Wal-Mart saw a one percentage point dip. “Other” stores accounted for 31% in 2009, up from 30%.

“In some ways this was not a surprise [because] we expected Amazon to take market share,” says Manish Rathi, Retrevo’s co-founder and vice president of marketing.

Price contributed to Amazon’s gain, and to Wal-Mart holding relatively steady, he says. “Consumers became extremely price-sensitive last year. Amazon and Wal-Mart are price leaders compared to Best Buy.”

Consumers also are turning away from Best Buy as they increasingly rely on web sites to research products rather than on store employees, which was a Best Buy strength, he says.

During the holiday season, Wal-Mart saw the biggest increase in consumers shopping for consumer electronics. 25% of respondents reported buying consumer electronics from Wal-Mart worth $200 or less during the holiday season, up from 21% in 2008. 14% made similar purchases from Amazon, up one percentage point from 2008. Best Buy’s share of those purchases fell to 19 % from 21%.

For consumer electronics purchases of more than $200, Wal-Mart gained four percentage points, to 17% from 13%, Amazon held steady at 13%, while Best Buy declined to 23% from 24%.

Retrevo based its findings on surveys conducted between Dec. 26 and Jan 4. of 1,019 randomly selected users of the Sunnyvale, CA-based site. Retrevo says 4 million consumers visit its site every month.


Amazon.com, Best Buy, business finance, Criticism of Wal-Mart