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Pricing Shootout, Round 2: Amazon Vs. Walmart

The world’s top two discounters go head-to-head.

Back in December we ran a pricing study by LendEDU that compared retails at Amazon and Costco (hint: Costco was cheaper).

Now the student financing site is back with a price-point comparison between Amazon and No. 1 discount chain Walmart, which once again challenges the difference between perception and reality.

Despite Amazon’s reputation for the best deals — driven by around-the-clock web crawlers and arcane algorithms that provide dynamic, on-the-fly price adjustments — the e-tailer was once again edged out by a brick-and-mortar competitor.

Based on a selection of 50 identical items across five categories, Walmart’s in-store prices proved to be 10.4 percent lower on average than those of its online rival.

The difference was most narrow in tech, where a basket of 10 items was nearly 5 percent pricier at Amazon. The greatest disparity was for Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 Luxe Edition headphones in black; Walmart charged $89.10 for the pair, while Amazon asked $129.99, a difference of almost 46 percent.

But Amazon had Walmart beat on JBL’s Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker, which it sold for $72.95, compared with the latter’s $89.99 retail, a savings of 19 percent.

The greatest pricing divide by category was in food and beverage, where an Amazon shopper would actually save 22.5 percent over their Walmart counterpart.

LendEDU said the key takeaway from the cross-comparison analysis is that Walmart is now more willing, and able, to go head-to-head with Amazon on price, as it continues to plow billions into infrastructure.

Related: How Walmart Is Thinking Outside The (Big) Box

Its advice for shoppers: “It is always wise for consumers to do their research to make sure they are getting the best deals before they click the buy button.” The complete report is posted on LendEDU’s blog page.