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When Consumers Buy Electronics, Online Marketplaces Beat Physical Stores

Typically, consumers’ preferred purchasing channel remains the physical store, but when it comes to buying electronics, shoppers turn to third-party marketplaces for affordability and convenience.

By the Numbers

The new PYMNTS Intelligence report “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces” drew from a study of more than 3,500 U.S. consumers to understand their habits and decisions regarding online shopping.

Share of consumers who have purchased the most

Supplemental research from the report revealed that online marketplaces are particularly popular for buying electronics, with many consumers making these purchases via the channel. Thirty-nine percent of electronic purchases were made using an online marketplace, a slightly greater share than that of such purchases made in physical stores, making electronics the only retail category where marketplaces won out.

A Deeper Dive

Take Amazon, the largest such marketplace, as an example. Additional research from the PYMNTS Intelligence study “Whole Paycheck Report: NewConsumer Spend Data Finds Amazon Way Ahead of Walmart,” which estimates each of the two retailers’ market shares in various categories, noted that Amazon holds a 41% share of consumer spending on electronics and appliances. That share jumped to 81% when looking specifically at eCommerce.

Meanwhile, rival Walmart is looking to bring consumers back to its stores and eCommerce platforms by expanding its electronics selection. For instance, in March, the company announced that it would begin selling the MacBook Air with the M1 chip on its website, with the product later to come to stores, touting the $699 price point.

“We’re working hard to bring premium brands to our physical and virtual shelves, and we’re excited to work with Apple to do just that,” Julie Barber, executive vice president of Merchandising at Walmart U.S., said in a statement at the time.

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