Amazon vs Walmart: Who Has the Cheapest Grocery Prices?

Amazon handily beat Walmart for the lowest prices on food and consumables, a new study shows. In other categories, things tightened up.

Close-up of hand of a man using the Amazon mobile app to purchase household supplies from Amazon Prime, San Ramon, California
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As inflation continues to keep the economy in its grasp, more people are turning to discount retailers to cut grocery prices. When it comes down to the battle of two of the retail behemoths, Amazon vs Walmart, shoppers are asking which one has the cheaper prices online. One study says it’s Amazon all the way.

Profitero, an internet commerce analytics platform, stacked the two against each other and a handful of other key retailers and found that, in addition to grocery prices, Amazon had the lowest prices on video games and fashion but held only a narrow lead in beauty and toys.

Profitero compared non-sale prices of approximately 14,000 items across various leading online retailers. The report concluded that Amazon had lower prices vs. Walmart and 12 other U.S. retailers, including Best Buy, Chewy, CVS, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gamestop, GNC, The Home Depot, Kohls, Lowes, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Petco, PetSmart, Target, Ulta, Walgreens, Walmart and Wayfair.

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How much lower? On average, the study found Amazon’s prices were 16% lower. That’s a 3% difference from last year. 

Only a 4% gap separated Walmart's and Amazon's prices across identical items. Compared to last year, Walmart became more competitive in 10 categories, including video games, fashion, and home improvement. 

"Amazon’s and Walmart’s solidifying price leadership has significant implications for retailers, not just for holiday sales but advertising investments as well,” said Mike Black, CMO of Profitero. “If a retailer’s product ads show up alongside competitors with much higher prices, their conversion rates and ROI won’t be great. If you can’t beat ‘em on price, beat ‘em on agility.”

Amazon vs Walmart vs the rest of the pack

  • The competition between Amazon and Walmart is fierce. The study showed that the two companies have identical prices across identical products 70% of the time, due to how they compete with each other. No other retailer comes close. By comparison, Target and Amazon had matching prices just 26% of the time. 
  • Amazon maintains a considerable price advantage in video games and fashion, with average prices that are 9% and 7% less expensive than its closest competitors, Best Buy and Walmart. Amazon held a narrow lead of only 2% in beauty and toys compared to its closest rivals.
  • Against Amazon, Target saw mixed results in its performance, with prices 16% more expensive than Amazon, compared to 15% last year. Target improved in seven out of 15 categories, including home furniture, but slipped in the other eight.
  • Only 1% and 2% separated Chewy and Petco from Amazon in pet supplies, making it the most hotly-contested category in the study. Chewy’s competition with Amazon is so fierce that they share the same prices 93% of the time. 
  • On average, CVS was 52% more expensive than Amazon for health & personal care items; Walgreens was 42% more expensive. 

Here's a look at the retailers with the lowest everyday prices and the retailers with the lowest holiday shopping prices. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Retailers With the Lowest Everyday Prices
CategoryLowest Priced Second Lowest PricedPercentage Difference Between Lowest and Second Lowest Priced
BabyAmazonWalmart3%
BeautyAmazonWalmart2%
Health & Personal CareAmazonWalmart4%
Household SuppliedAmazonWalmart3%
Pet SuppliesAmazonChewy1%
Vitamins & SupplementsAmazonWalmart4%
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Retailers With the Lowest Holiday Shopping Prices
CategoryLowest PricedSecond Lowest PricedPercentage Difference Between Lowest and Second Lowest Priced
AppliancesAmazonWalmart4%
ElectronicsAmazonBest Buy4%
FashionAmazonWalmart7%
Sports & OutdoorsAmazonWalmart3%
Tools & Home ImprovementAmazonWalmart5%
ToysAmazonWalmart2%
Video GamesAmazonBest Buy9%

Profitero compared identical items available and in stock in the same pack configuration. Data was collected daily over 12 weeks (July 10 - Oct 1, 2023), with daily prices averaged over the full period. Prices for the same items were collected within 24 hours of each other to ensure the validity of the comparisons.

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Kathryn Pomroy
Contributor

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.

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