In recent years Walmart has emerged as Amazon’s only real competitor. While late to the e-commerce party, they are well positioned to challenge Amazon. In 2020 Walmart generated nearly double the revenue of Amazon and maintains a solid geographic advantage. According to Forbes, 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, far fewer live within the same proximity of an Amazon fulfillment center. So, Amazon maintains their early mover advantage in the e-commerce space but has a formidable and motivated competitor in Walmart.
There is no place this competition is more apparent than with their membership programs. With Walmart’s recent release of Walmart Plus, they put themselves in direct competition with Amazon’s Prime program which has been synonymous with fast and free delivery for years. While Amazon Prime remains the more popular program, some consumers have begun eyeing Walmart Plus for their competition benefits. Here is how each program compares.
There isn’t much of a competition here. With a multi-year head start, Amazon offers 3 Million products with same day delivery and many more with 1–2-day delivery times. That compares with a measly 160,000 same day eligible items offered by Walmart. But with Walmart’s major geographic advantage over Amazon, expect a much tighter competition in coming years.
Walmart Plus takes the win when it comes to price. A membership to Walmart’s program will cost you $98/ year as compared to $119 for Amazon Prime. If you opt for a month-to-month membership, you’ll find prices to be nearly identical with Amazon Prime priced as $12.99 per month compared to $12.95 for Walmart Plus. But before making a decision purely based on price, see the benefits section below.
If you are still undecided, the unique benefits should help you make up your mind. Starting with Amazon, as a Prime member you’ll have access to their growing library of streaming shows and movies. This has been a major focus of Amazon’s and with Amazon’s original content you’ll only be able to view certain shows and movies as a Prime member. If on the other hand you spend less time in front of a screen and more time on the open road, Walmart Plus may be the choice for you. With their fuel discount, frequent drivers save an average of $84 dollars per year according to Business Insider.
For most active shoppers the choice is whether to drop your Amazon Prime membership and sign up for Walmart Plus. While the modest savings in membership cost and discounted fuel may not be quite enough for most shoppers, it is definitely worth monitoring. Walmart recognizes that a successful e-commerce business is a necessity to survive and will likely continue improving delivery times, expanding product eligibility and expanding benefits until they take a sizable share of the market. So, consumers can expect to enjoy the improved services and lower cost for both of these services which will inevitably result from this competition.