Sears versus JCPenney. Borders versus Barnes and Noble. Petsmart versus Petco. These battles for retail supremacy are all well-documented, but none match the ongoing intensity of the Walmart versus Amazon feud.
These are two very different companies, though they challenge each other continuously to evolve in similar ways. So, let’s break down Walmart vs. Amazon in a complete showdown.
Walmart Vs. Amazon In 2023
Walmart and Amazon are two companies that lead the retail world as of 2023. Some similarities between the two include employee working conditions and a wide product selection. However, Amazon has a larger eCommerce presence while Walmart’s membership program is lower than Amazon’s.
If you want to learn more about the similarities and differences between Amazon and Walmart, like what employees have to say about working for the companies, keep on reading!
Who Is Number One; Walmart Or Amazon?
In a stunning report in August 2021, Amazon overtook Walmart as the largest American retailer globally.
So, for now, after reporting $610 billion in revenue (compared to Walmart’s mere $566 billion) from August 2020 to August 2021, Amazon is sitting on top of the world.
That said, Walmart previously held the first-place seat since the 1990s, according to 4029tv.com, before Amazon took over.
Does The Same Company Own Walmart And Amazon?
Walmart and Amazon share some similarities, but they’re entirely different companies. That said, Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, out of Rogers, Arkansas.
Now, the headquarters are located in Benton, Arkansas, from which Walmart runs all 10,500+ stores and oversees the employment of 2.2 million people around the world.
Further, its current CEO is Doug McMillon. In 2015, Greg Penner succeeded Rob Walton as Chairman.
Initially, Walmart began as a chain of discount stores before expanding to the larger hypermarket model by which we know it best today (“Walmart Supercenters”).
Also, Walmart has considerably beefed up its eCommerce presence, no doubt due to competition from Amazon cutting into its sales.
On the other hand, Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in July 1994, out of Bellevue, Washington.
While Bezos is now the Executive Chairman, he passed on President and CEO duties to Andy Jassy, who had worked for Amazon since 1997.
According to Wikipedia, along with Google, Apple, Facebook/Meta, and Microsoft, Amazon is one of the Big Five IT companies in the industry.
So, what started as an online bookstore has morphed into a company wealthy enough to launch its founder into space.
By 1999, Amazon’s storefront started to look more like what we recognize today: offering everything under the sun for sale.
With Prime shipping, customers can get their orders as quickly as the same day, though two-day shipping is more the norm.
Also, the company has acquired the Whole Foods chain and opened some Amazon Go locations, which eliminates the check-out process.
How Are Walmart And Amazon Alike?
Let’s look at some of the similarities between Walmart and Amazon:
- Top-ranking retailers in the world, with billions of dollars in sales each year
- Founded and maintain their HQ in the United States
- Multinational presence
- Many private-label products (e.g., Amazon: Amazon Basics, Kindles, Fire TVs; Walmart: Time & Tru, Great Value, Equate)
- In-store grocery
- Online ordering, including groceries, with same-day delivery
- Two-day delivery with membership
- Similar target market: comfortably middle-class consumers (in Walmart’s case, women), of about middle age
- Hugely recognizable brands with customer loyalty and consumer trust
Next, let’s look at the differences that make these companies so diverse and competitive.
How Are Walmart And Amazon Different?
While they share some traits (and undoubtedly many goals), Walmart and Amazon diverge in many ways. Therefore, here are some of the most significant differences:
- Amazon still derives most of its sales from eCommerce, while Walmart dominates in-store retail sales.
- Walmart’s digital grocery makes up a larger part of its sales than Amazon’s (52 percent vs. 7.5 percent, respectively).
- Walmart has over 10,500+ brick-and-mortar locations, while Amazon maintains only 589 (including Whole Foods locations, which Amazon acquired in 2017).
- Walmart’s most popular private label goods include foodstuffs, apparel, and home décor, while Amazon’s most recognizable products include tech – TVs, e-readers, streaming devices, personal home assistants.
- Many items available for digital purchase from Walmart can be picked up the same day; Amazon customers tend to wait one-to-two days for delivery.
- Amazon is much more tech-oriented, developing products like the Echo and Echo Dot, with the home assistant Alexa.
What Advantages Does Walmart Have Over Amazon?
Despite Amazon dethroning Walmart from its top retailer seat in the Fall of 2021, Walmart still maintains some fighting advantages over the eCommerce giant.
That said, one key advantage is the saturation of Walmart stores in communities over the previous decades, which is beneficial to Walmart in a few ways:
- More established brand loyalty/brand habit (i.e., easier to just pop into Walmart store for a few groceries, especially when many cities and towns don’t have Whole Foods)
- Quicker gratification for purchases (store pick-up vs. Amazon delivery)
- Walmart grocery prices are often lower than Amazon/Whole Foods
- Customers benefit from faster in-store returns versus Amazon’s shipping returns
Then, there’s product selection.
This advantage is arguable, but many people have difficulty making a decision when presented with numerous choices.
Walmart’s smaller selection, especially in-store, can make it easier to shop because there are fewer options to weigh.
On the other hand, Amazon currently offers 12 million different products for sale!
While Walmart’s eCommerce expansion mimics Amazon’s, it might not necessarily be the niche it wants to inhabit since less is more sometimes.
Who Is More Profitable; Walmart Or Amazon?
As well as having more sales in the same 12-month period, Amazon also has a higher valuation as a company.
With that, Walmart’s net worth in 2020 was $74.66 billion, while Amazon’s is a whopping $93.4 billion.
Further, experts guess that Amazon’s sales surge was due, at least in part, to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which made online ordering a safe alternative to in-store shopping.
Which Store Has Lower Prices; Walmart Or Amazon?
Walmart and Amazon remain hotly-competitive year-round in terms of pricing, and their efforts to outdo each other intensifies during the winter holidays.
In 2018, a writer with TasteOfHome.com found that Walmart tended to have the better prices, though.
Further, toys were one category where Amazon could come in significantly cheaper than Walmart and make-up, though not as often.
Also, one site found there were quite a few ties, like with some pet products and snacks and some near-ties on personal care products.
When it comes to determining cost, though, it’s not just about money; it’s also about time and convenience.
For example, if you have to wait two days for an Amazon product to arrive, versus being able just to visit Walmart and get the item for a few pennies more, the higher price might be worth it.
Also, I have found Walmart pick-up to be incredibly inconvenient at times in my area, with pick-up times pre-set and often unavailable until the following day.
Further, Walmart pick-up or just visiting a Walmart store is free.
On the other hand, to get Prime shipping with Amazon, you have to have a Prime membership, which costs $119 a year or $12.99 a month.
Which Ships Faster; Amazon Or Walmart?
One of the reasons Amazon has become such a top-rated site is its now-legendary two-day shipping for Prime members.
In recent years, that has improved to one-day shipping in some markets and same-day shipping for customers with close proximity to warehouses.
But, Walmart has the retail giant in its sights, as it recently unveiled the Walmart+ program, its own membership-based perks club.
That said, Walmart+ offers free delivery not only from its warehouses but from its stores, too.
Further, that means customers who don’t want to fight rush-hour traffic for the kids’ last-minute science projects can get the materials delivered to their house for free.
However, the only catch is that you must spend $35 minimum for home deliveries.
Additionally, items that are not in stock at stores can be delivered via next-day or two-day delivery, with no order minimum.
A writer for Business Insider compared the two, and she found that Amazon was faster when it came to product deliveries.
Further, Amazon was more precise about when the shipment could be expected, whereas Walmart was vague (“estimated due date,” no guarantees).
However, the two companies are equally matched in terms of tracking, as both offer notifications and updates.
Is Amazon Prime Or Walmart+ Better?
Both Amazon and Walmart offer membership-based perks clubs: Amazon Prime and Walmart+.
Prime has been around since 2005, while Walmart recently got into the game with Walmart+ in 2020.
So, let’s compare and contrast the benefits, prices, and drawbacks the two might have.
Amazon Prime is a must in many households for a good reason.
That said, a Prime membership includes free two-day shipping on many items, with no minimum purchase necessary.
Also, you get access to Amazon’s Prime channel, with tons of free movies, TV (including many great Prime Originals), and other media.
Additionally, Prime membership gets you access to free grocery delivery on orders $35+ via Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
Unfortunately, you must live close to Whole Foods, but those who do can get their groceries delivered in as little as one hour.
Further, Walmart+ shows that the retailer has watched and learned from Amazon, though it has the advantage of thousands of physical stores all over the country.
So, one of Walmart’s advantages over Amazon is that it can offer same-day delivery to more customers, but with a $35-purchase minimum.
On top of that, Walmart+ offers free next-day and two-day shipping, with no minimum purchase necessary.
Moreover, Walmart+ members get fuel discounts, as many Walmarts or Sam’s Clubs (a Walmart subsidiary) have gas stations.
With that, customers get five cents off every gallon, with no cap on how many gallons or how often you can fuel up.
Another great perk for Walmart+ members is the Mobile Scan and Go feature, which allows customers to scan items as they put them in their cart, then pay via the app.
Thus, they can skip the lines altogether, a significant benefit during intense shopping seasons.
Walmart+ is the cheaper option, at $12.95 per month or $98 a year.
On the other hand, Amazon Prime costs $12.99 per month but costs $119 for a full-year subscription.
So, while you do save about $37 buying a year’s subscription for Amazon Prime, you save $57 purchasing Walmart+ for an entire year.
Some drawbacks to Walmart+ are:
- No media library like Prime
- Less reliable next-day and two-day shipping
- Same-day delivery comes with a $35 purchase minimum
In comparison, some Amazon Prime drawbacks include:
- More expensive if purchasing a year-long subscription
- Amazon Fresh only accessible to customers near Whole Foods
- No gas discounts
Can Amazon Beat Walmart?
Amazon has already surpassed Walmart as the largest retailer in the US and the largest (non-Chinese) globally.
In April 2021, Business Insider published an article entitled “Amazon is slated to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the U.S.”
However, the author, Áine Cain, went on to say, “…Amazon is on track to overtake its Arkansas-based competitor…within the next few years.”
She remarked on how, despite decades of supremacy at the top of the retail ladder, Walmart still struggled to catch up to Amazon in the realm of eCommerce.
That could be why, just four months later, Amazon surged ahead of Walmart to become #1 worldwide.
Additionally, Amazon has an essential entry into our lives that Walmart does not – the Fire TV Sticks and Echo devices.
These devices, and the way we interact with them, reveal more about us than many of us realize, and Walmart simply isn’t privy to that data.
So, can Walmart take the top spot back?
While Walmart has some advantages over Amazon, Amazon’s easy eCommerce site gives the company a slight edge over Walmart.
Is Walmart Or Amazon Better To Work For?
Despite their companies’ success, both Amazon and Walmart have received their fair share of criticism regarding labor practices.
For example, Amazon has contended with claims from workers that they were held to aggressively timed schedules and workers were under surveillance during shifts.
In comparison, Walmart has been called out for low wages, unfair working conditions, wrongful terminations, and paltry healthcare benefits.
Also, both companies have been accused of anti-labor sentiment to keep employees from gaining collective bargaining power.
Still, there are some excellent aspects to working for each company.
Walmart, for instance, pays for tuition and books for its employees to get bachelor’s degrees.
On the other hand, Amazon starts employees at $15 an hour, but warehouse workers now start at $18 per hour.
On the Quora page for “which company takes better care of its employees,” the respondents were about equally split, with maybe a slight edge toward Walmart.
Moreover, employees past and present remarked on Amazon’s work-you-to-the-bone environment, as well as Walmart’s lower pay.
Further, a few commenters thought the companies were pretty similar to work for.
If you want to learn more, you can also read our posts on whether or not Walmart price matches Amazon, the biggest Walmart competitors, and Walmart’s competitive advantages.
Walmart maintained the top retail spot in the country (and most of the world) for decades, a place it seemed likely to maintain.
Yet, Amazon has finally ousted Walmart with its combination of eCommerce savvy and high-tech marketing.
Further, the two companies share remarkable similarities in some ways but ultimately offer remarkably distinct services to consumers.