Amazon, Wal-Mart Gaining on Electronics Leader Best Buy

As a place to buy electronics, Best Buy comes to mind ahead of and Wal-Mart, electronics shoppers told pollster Retrevo, although the gap is smaller than it was in 2008. Best Buy was also thought to have the best selection, though Wal-Mart reigned in the matter of low prices.

When it comes to pulling in electronics shoppers, and Wal-Mart are gaining ground on leader Best Buy, according to a Jan. 6 study from Retrevo.

Retrevo polled more than a thousand online shoppers between Dec. 26 and Jan. 4 to learn how consumer attitudes toward electronics shopping shifted over the course of 2009.

When asked, "When you think about buying electronics, who comes to mind first?" fewer shoppers said Best Buy and Wal-Mart than did in 2008, while the number of those who said went up 4 percentage points to 15 percent.

This still left Best Buy leading the pack, as it was named by a considerable 40 percent of consumers in 2009, compared with 44 percent in 2008. Wal-Mart's drop was an even smaller one, from 15 percent in 2008 to 14 percent in 2009.

Which company consumers believe has the lowest prices was another story, with Best Buy falling to the bottom with 25 percent of the vote, holding onto 33 percent of the vote and Wal-Mart dominating with 42 percent of votes.

Best Buy came out on top again, however, in the matter of selection.

"Whether it's that big wall of HDTVs or a store full of gadgets, Best Buy beat both Amazon and Wal-Mart as the reseller with the best selection of electronics this season," Retrevo wrote in a blog post on the survey. "Of the respondents, 44 percent said Best Buy had the best selection with coming in a close second with 41 percent. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart came in a distant third with 15 percent."

Receipts are the real measure, though, and when asked where they purchased electronics this year, Wal-Mart showed the biggest fluctuation, with an increase of 4 percentage points between the years on electronics items under $200.

Best Buy ranked second in the under-$200 category, with 19 percent of those polled saying they'd purchased items there, down from 21 percent a year ago. was up by 1 percentage point, to 14 percent in 2009.

Shoppers headed to Best Buy for items over $200, however, were down 1 percentage point from the previous year, to 23 percent. Among these bigger spenders, 17 percent went to Wal-Mart, compared with 13 percent the year before, and remained at a steady 13 percent.

"Although Best Buy is still ... the king of the hill for electronics, Amazon and Wal-Mart are gaining ground. Best Buy has reason for concern because perceptions can change fast, especially with two giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart turning up the heat," wrote Retrevo. announced on Dec. 26 that its Kindle e-reader became its most gifted item ever over the holidays. Although the company didn't say exactly how many it had sold, it reported that-seemingly in response to hordes of Kindle recipients tearing into wrapping paper on Christmas morning-on Dec. 25, for the first time, sold more e-books than physical books.