Yonkers, N.Y. - Online-only retailers outscored brick-and-mortar stores on price, service and product quality for the second consecutive year in Consumer Reports magazine's annual CE survey.
Within the brick-and-mortar channel, Costco edged out rival warehouse clubs Sam's and BJ's on price and product quality, while Apple Stores, Ultimate Electronics, Ritz Camera and independent dealers in general scored well on service and product quality, if not price.
Target and Walmart, which trailed in product quality and customer service, placed at the bottom of the list.
The consumer advocacy publication also advised consumers to:
Â· negotiate prices with retailers, who are more inclined to haggle amid weaker sales;
Â· eschew an extended warranty; and
Â· consider multifunctional products like all-in-one printers, IP-capable TVs and Blu-ray players, and digital cameras that can also shoot HD-format video.
The survey results, along with reviews of more than 400 netbook computers, flat-panel TVs, Blu-ray players, headphones, digital cameras and other CE products, appear in Consumer Reports' annual electronics issue, available this week.