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Amazon’s Gain Is Brick-and-Mortar’s Pain In CE Share Shift


is looming ever larger
in the rearview mirrors of
Best Buy and Walmart.

In the 12 short years
since the e-tail upstart added
CE to its assortment,
Amazon has grown into the fourth-largest
consumer electronics merchant, behind
only Best Buy, Walmart and Apple.

Last year alone, the company’s
CE sales soared 72
percent to $7.9 billion in
hardware and video games,
according to TWICE’s Top
100 CE Retailers Report,
besting Target, Costco,
GameStop and RadioShack, and demonstrating
once again that storefronts
are no longer a prerequisite for market

And thanks to a formidable combination
of low prices, wide assortment and
positive customer experience, Amazon
continues to take share from its brickand-
mortar rivals. According to data
from the Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA) and The Stevenson Company’s
TraQline shopper surveys, Amazon’s
share of total CE dollars spent
rose 27.5 percent over the 12-month
period ended March 31, to 5.1 percent,
compared with a 0.7 percent decline in
share for Best Buy and essentially flat
results for Walmart during the same

While Best Buy still commands the
lion’s share of CE sell-through at 26.1
percent, followed by Walmart’s 11.7
percent share of CE revenue, “More
people are shopping at Amazon than in
the past,” observed Stevenson VP Eric
Voyer, who, along with CEA industry
analysis director Steve Koenig, presented
the findings during a CEA Research
Summit here last month at the Samsung
Experience showroom in Manhattan’s
Time Warner building.

Driving that traffic are the aforementioned
factors of price, selection and
shopping experience, which were cited
by consumers as the chief motivations
for purchasing their electronics where
they do. Amazon was tops in all three
areas, shoppers said, while Walmart
and Target were a close tie for second
in pricing but ranked low for store experience,
and Best Buy placed fourth in
product selection.

Also working in Amazon’s favor is
increased consumer “empowerment,”
Koenig said, as comparison-shopping
sites and smartphone apps provide
greater price transparency.

As a result, Best Buy and Walmart are,
in a sense, increasingly serving as Amazon’s
showrooms as a growing number
of shoppers first visit chain stores and
then purchase their CE online.

Specifically, about 4 percent of consumers
shop Best Buy but purchase
from Amazon, an increase of nearly 54
percent over the 12-month period ended
March 31, while Amazon’s Walmart
conversion rate more than doubled to
2.7 percent of shoppers, the research

Koenig said the technology the industry
sells enables consumers to check on
pricing, product performance and retail
service before making their purchases,
and that retailers need to acknowledge
that and act upon the trends. To contend
with the new paradigm, retailers
must embrace social media and “hop
onto the connected bandwagon, revive
and restore relationship building [with
customers] and create and maintain
open and exciting sales floors,” he said.