Walmart vs. Amazon: What to Know When Shopping Online
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Can't decide between shopping at Walmart vs. Amazon? We compare membership services, grocery delivery and their prices (and sales!) to help you decide.
When it comes to finding the absolute best deals, two retail giants are competing for space in your shopping cart: Amazon vs. Walmart.
For members, Amazon Prime and Walmart+ both offer additional options for savings on shipping, grocery shopping—even gas and e-books. Though the retailers have tons in common, their offerings are actually pretty different.
Luckily, the retailers are similar when it comes to offering some of the best Black Friday deals. Both Walmart and Amazon are expected to go big for Black Friday home deals, so it’s never too early to start adding things to your wish list. If you’re like us, we’re keeping an eye on these Pioneer Woman kitchen appliances at Walmart and best kitchen gifts on Amazon.
Before you reach for your credit card, check out the perks and differences of Walmart vs. Amazon. Ready, set, shop!
Looking for more retailer comparisons? Here’s everything you need to know about Etsy vs. Amazon Handmade, which offer some of the best handmade goodies. We also break down the difference between Wayfair vs. Overstock.
Walmart+ vs. Amazon Prime: Which Costs More?
A Walmart+ membership costs $98 for a one-year commitment, or $12.95 a month if you want the option to be billed monthly. You’ll save $57.40 by making the yearly commitment. You can buy a lot of groceries with $57—just saying! At $139 a year, or $14.99 per month, an Amazon Prime membership is slightly more expensive than a Walmart+ subscription. An additional $41, to be precise.
Some good news? Both Walmart+ and Amazon Prime offer free membership trials, so you can test both services before you commit. Both the Walmart+ trial and the Amazon Prime trial last a full 30 days. If you’re a college student or receive government assistance, you can get a discounted Amazon Prime membership. Just remember to cancel your trials if you don’t plan on continuing with either service. No one likes a surprise charge on their credit card bill!
Walmart vs. Amazon: Which Has Black Friday Deals?
Though it’s still a little early to know exactly what will be on sale for Amazon’s Black Friday sales event, we’re expecting it to be similar to 2021. Shoppers scored big markdowns (we’re talking hundreds off big ticket items) on home items like robot vacuums, furniture, decor, kitchen appliances, Amazon devices and everyday household items.
Walmart has already announced some Black Friday deals in 2022. Not only do deals drop every Monday in November, the Black Friday Deals for Days events starts online November 7 and November 9 for in-store shoppers. That’s basically an entire month worth of Black Friday deals! Walmart+ members score exclusive access first, so take this as your sign to hop on the hype.
Last year’s Walmart Black Friday deals ranged from a Samsung Chromebook for $112 off, a Keurig coffee maker for half off and Rainbow High Fashion Dolls at nearly half the price. Shoppers saw deals on stocking stuffers, clothes and small home appliances, too.
Who Offers Lower Prices? Walmart or Amazon?
As for the lowest prices and everyday value, pricing is competitive between Walmart vs. Amazon. The Walmart price match policy plays a competitive game in terms of low prices—it practically guarantees you’ll get the best deal on specific gear every. single. time. Overall, Walmart has historically had lower prices than Amazon.
In 2020, LendEDU compared 50 identical products across a variety of categories such as home goods, technology and entertainment, kitchen/appliances and miscellaneous items. They found that if a customer was to purchase identical items from both retailers, Walmart was 1.79% cheaper than Amazon.
Still, if you’re shopping for a big-ticket item like a refrigerator or TV, it’s best to do your own research on pricing between the retailers. You can’t go wrong shopping at Walmart vs. Amazon, and both are shopping destinations to have at the top of your list for scoring discounts on everyday items—and even bigger savings on big ticket items during mega sales events.
How Does Walmart+ Compare to Amazon Prime?
Amazon’s motto is “From A to Z”—and it’s true. The online retailer sells almost everything, with more than 12 million products for sale. Anyone can shop on Amazon, but a Prime membership also gets you:
- Free same-day, one-day or two-day shipping on millions of items, including Handmade Goods (Amazon’s answer to Etsy)
- Two-hour delivery on groceries, including quality fresh food and produce in select cities
- Amazon Day to cut down on trips to your address and consolidate deliveries
- Access to Amazon’s streaming library of movies, games and shows—including Amazon originals
- Prime Reading gives you unlimited access to more than a thousand eBooks, magazines and comics
- Sales and deals at Whole Foods Market (in stores and via Amazon Pantry)
- Prime Try Before You Buy lets you try on clothes in your home before you commit to purchasing them
- Amazon Photos provides unlimited photo storage
- You’ll have access to members-only Amazon Prime Day sales
If you do all or most of your shopping online and like the (almost) instant gratification of two-hour delivery, then Amazon Prime is right for you. Whole Foods Market fans and digital streaming addicts should also consider signing up for a membership. You can finally catch up on the award-winning “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Like Amazon, Walmart+ is vying for your attention in the grocery aisle. Walmart has the benefit of being a huge chain, with a network of more than 4,000 physical retail units across the country. To compare, Amazon has more than 100 fulfillment centers in the U.S. (with more opening this year) and 500-plus Whole Foods stores in North America.
With so many retail locations, Walmart gets goods to more customers faster. And, since deliveries come directly from Walmart stores to customers’ homes, food should stay fresher overall. Not to mention Walmart meal kits, which make lunch and dinner prep a breeze when busy schedules take over. Anyone can shop at Walmart and Walmart.com, but a Walmart+ membership also gets you:
- Unlimited free delivery on orders over $35 (some areas aren’t included in this benefit)
- Free next day shipping, plus free two-day shipping (no order minimum!)
- One-hour delivery windows are available if you need something ASAP
- Members can save up to 10 cents per gallon at nearly 2,000 Exxon, Mobil, Walmart & Murphy gas stations
- Access to a Paramount+ Essential Plan subscription
- Six months free of Spotify Premium through March 2023
- Access to Walmart Rewards where members earn points and rewards on eligible purchases
- Walmart always hosts a competitor sale at the same time as Amazon, and it’s free for everyone whether you’re a Walmart+ member or not
Walmart+ also makes in-person shopping contact-free by granting members access to “Scan & Go” technology via an app. This lets customers scan and pay for items directly with their smartphones while shopping in stores. Say goodbye to standing in a checkout line! (This might be priceless if you’re shopping with toddlers.) If you like a combination of shopping in Walmart stores and online, plus you’re looking for deals on fast and fresh grocery delivery, it’s hard to go wrong with Walmart+.
Grocery Shopping on Walmart+ and Amazon Prime
It was huge news when Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in 2017. Some prices dropped dramatically for all shoppers, but Prime members are the real winners of the acquisition. With a Prime membership and an app, shoppers get a ton of grocery and beauty deals through the organic grocer.
In Whole Foods stores, Prime members get weekly deals and an extra 10% off items with yellow sale signs. Prime Members in select ZIP codes (usually big cities) get free delivery of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value items, plus meats, produce and pantry items.
Prime members in certain areas get free grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh, which fulfills orders through Amazon warehouses instead of Whole Foods Markets. Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh don’t have a grocery delivery minimum, unless you want two-hour delivery, in which case your order will need to be at least $35 (honestly, not that hard to do at Whole Foods), or you’ll have to pay a $4.99 delivery fee.
Over at Walmart+, the grocery deals are way more substantial. Walmart grocery prices are typically a lot lower than those at Whole Foods Market, and Walmart has worked to expand its organic and local produce and food items over the years. Adding household essentials like diapers, cleaning products and pet food is simple—and Walmart offers more brands.
Walmart doesn’t specify how your proximity to a store will impact delivery time, but it’s safe to assume that the closer you are, the more likely you can take advantage of the same-day delivery offering.
Of course, busy holiday and weekend slots fill up fast, so it’s smart to schedule grocery delivery ahead of time if you really want the most coveted time slots at either retailer.
Does Walmart Price Match Amazon Items?
Yep! With some restrictions, Walmart will honor a price match if you find a lower price at other online or big box stores, including Amazon, Sears and Target. To get the price match, you must contact Walmart.com Customer Care before placing your order, and the products must be in stock and identical in size, model, quantity, brand and color. Having a shopping strategy definitely pays off!
The Bottom Line on Shopping on Amazon vs. Walmart
Both retailers offer affordable shopping memberships that pay for themselves on saved delivery and shipping costs if—and this is where you need to be honest about your shopping habits—you actually use them. City dwellers will appreciate Amazon’s two-hour and same-day delivery windows, while rural and suburban folks may want to go for Walmart’s larger reach. For affordable grocery shopping and fresh grocery delivery, Walmart wins.
For a larger inventory of items (including handmade artisanal goods), and a plethora of streaming services and Whole Foods Market deals, Amazon is the retailer for you. As for the annual sales? It all depends on what’s on your shopping list.
Do You Need a Subscription?
It’s also worth mentioning that you can take advantage of many of the Amazon Prime and Walmart+ delivery services without subscribing. Walmart customers who aren’t Plus members currently get free two-day deliveries for millions of items on orders of $35 or more. Depending on where they live, they can sometimes get same-day delivery, too. Amazon customers who aren’t Prime members can usually get free standard shipping on orders of $25 or more. Another way to save? Prime members can share certain benefits with another adult in their household, as long as the accounts and payment options are linked.
So, Amazon vs. Walmart: Which should you choose? The sort of fuzzy answer: it depends! It’s hard to beat Walmart’s rock-bottom prices and fast grocery delivery schedule. But Amazon also offers great savings and a lot of products, and it makes online shopping easy. Both are excellent shopping destinations for finding deals on kitchen products, like prep tools, organizing solutions, and air fryers. We recommend starting with a free trial of Amazon Prime and Walmart+ and clicking around on the items you know you buy regularly or have had your eye on for a while.
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