Best Buy and Wal-Mart continued to gain market share in consumer electronics at the expense of other national chains during the third quarter.
According to a new research report from Banc of America Securities, based on The Stevenson Company's quarterly TraQline syndicated survey, Wal-Mart expanded its dominance over the commodity CE sector while Best Buy either held or gained ground in higher-end fare.
Warehouse club channel leader Costco also pressed its advantage, garnering incremental increases in select categories during an otherwise weak quarter for retail.
Much of their gains were wrested from Circuit City, observed Banc of America retail analyst David Strasser in his latest Market Share Monitor, although Tweeter, CompUSA and RadioShack also ceded share.
Best Buy's budding relationship with Apple should help drive substantial share gains for the No. 1 CE chain during the holidays, thanks to the consumer's fascination with iPhone and next-generation iPods, Strasser said. Conversely, Circuit City, caught between Wal-Mart's promotional pricing and Best Buy's up-market aspirations, saw its share losses continue unabated. But the analyst sees hope in the chain's new 20,000-square-foot store prototype, dubbed The City, which "could be the lifeline they need."
Here's how the retailers stacked up by product category:
Plasma: Category leader Best Buy grew its share of 42-inch to 60-inch plasma TVs by 90 basis points ( bps), while Costco gained 80 bps and Wal-Mart gained 150 bps, albeit off a small base. Circuit City lost 460 bps of share.
LCD: In 40-inch to 60-inch sizes, Wal-Mart gained 450 bps and Costco took 100 bps, while Best Buy and Circuit City lost 200 bps and 490 basis points, respectively. In 39-inch and smaller TVs, Wal-Mart's strength, the world's largest retailer gained 800 bps while Best Buy and Circuit City lost 320 bps and 270 bps, respectively.
Video games: Not surprisingly, GameStop was the big winner here, garnering 510 bps as industry emphasis shifts from consoles to software. Other share gainers were Best Buy (taking 230 bps) and Target (up 70 bps), while Circuit City was flat and Wal-Mart gave up 410 bps.
iPods: Wal-Mart took the lion's share with a 210-basis-point gain, while Apple's own increase of 170 bps marked the chain's first share improvement since the first quarter of 2006.
Notebooks: Best Buy's 360-bps gain likely came out of Dell's and CompUSA's hides, Strasser speculates. Other winners were Wal-Mart, up 160 bps; Apple, up 90 bps; and Circuit City, ahead 50 bps.
Wireless: RadioShack, whose wireless business accounts for more than one-third of sales, saw this category slip by 100 bps in Q3.
Major appliances: Home improvement chains Home Depot and Lowe's continued to invest in their white goods businesses amid the worsening housing market and grew their share by 180 bps and 120 bps, respectively. Paying for that growth was Sears, down 190 bps, and Best Buy, whose majap share slipped 40 bps.
Looking ahead, Strasser believes that "Best Buy will continue to gain market share as Circuit City struggles to reverse declines in their business," and that the strength of the TV cycle will continue through next year.
The Stevenson Company, the data source for the report, collaborates with TWICE on its annual Top 100 and Top 25 Retailer Rankings in CE, major appliances, car A/V and PCs.