Walmart and Amazon Compete for Deal-Seeking Electronics Customers

Walmart, electronics

Walmart is looking to MacBooks to drive up its share of consumer electronics spending as Amazon continues to widen its lead in the category.

The mega-retailer recently announced that it is now selling the MacBook Air with the M1 chip on its website, with the product soon to come to stores, touting the $699 price point.

“Our mission at Walmart is to help customers save money so they can live better — it’s not an either/or proposition,” Julie Barber, executive vice president of merchandising at Walmart U.S., said in the release. “The very heart of that mission is the belief that customers should not have to sacrifice quality because of price.”

The move, which marks the first time that the retail giant is directly selling Mac computers, suggests that Walmart is looking to leverage the relatively low price point of this product to drive up its sales in electronics.

Amazon holds the lead in segment by a considerable margin, per the latest data from the PYMNTS Intelligence “Whole Paycheck Report series, which estimates each of the two retailers’ market share in various categories based on their earnings reports from Q1 2019 through Q4 2023 in conjunction with national data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The study reveals that Amazon has set the pace for the electronics and appliances market since 2019, and its lead continues to grow. As of the end of 2023, Amazon captured 41% of consumer spending in the category, with its share in the category rising by the quarter. Meanwhile, Walmart’s share has been falling over the last several years, down to 5.5% in Q4 from 8.2% in Q1 2019.

Amazon, for its part, is boasting limited-time deals to continue to gain share in the category. The eCommerce giant’s Big Spring Sale, running Wednesday through Monday (March 20-25), includes discounts on such products as phone chargers, headphones and speakers, per a company blog post updated Thursday (March 21). Additional offers are announced every day.

Indeed, appealing to consumers’ demand for deals can go a long way amid ongoing economic challenges. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: The False Appeal of Deal-Chasing Consumers,” which was based on a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, found that 46% of retail shoppers are deal chasers, willing to go wherever they will get the best price. 

Additionally, the “Higher Prices Fuel a Deal-Seeking Competition installment of the Consumer Inflation Sentiment series revealed that, in the previous 30 days, 72% of consumers said prices and discounts influenced their decision of where to make their most recent purchase. 

As Walmart steps into direct sales of Mac computers for the first time, it is clear that the retail giant is doing what it can to challenge Amazon’s dominance in electronics and reverse the trend of the gap between the two widening. With Amazon solidifying its lead through enticing deals and promotions, the battleground for consumer electronics spending intensifies. As shoppers increasingly prioritize savings, appealing prices and discounts go a long way toward driving loyalty.