What’s driving holiday sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT)? We took a look at some of the best sellers at Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) yesterday, and thought it would be interesting to see how the world’s largest retailer stacks up. The first item on Wal-Mart’s list of best sellers in Christmas Decor is a 6.5-foot white artificial Christmas tree, selling for $38. The tree is available in most stores, and can be shipped free to a customer’s nearest store for pickup. Wal-Mart is not offering free shipping to a customer’s home for this tree.
The next item listed is a personalized Christmas stocking for $15. The company offers free shipping to a customer’s home on this, likely because the local stores don’t have the ability to do the personalization. A personalized doormat, also $15, is listed next.
Best sellers in electronics include, at number one, the iPod Touch from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). An 8GB model sells begins at $214. Free shipping is available to a local store, but shipping to a customer’s home is not free. Kindle e-readers aside, the iPod Touch is also the best-selling electronic device at Amazon.
The number two best seller in electronics is a 14-megapixel camera from Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: EK). Wal-Mart is selling this camera for $69, and offers free shipping to a customer’s home. Amazon’s best selling camera is a $739.50 model from Canon.
Wal-Mart’s number three best selling electronics item is an MP3 video/music player for $25. Unfortunately for Wal-Mart, the item is out-of-stock online.
GPS navigation systems are solid sellers at both Amazon and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s best seller is a $98 model originally priced at about $130. Amazon’s best selling GPS device sells for $79.54, a steep discount to the $249.99 list price.
One other best-selling electronics item is a DVD/Blu-ray player for $94 at Wal-Mart and $69.28 at Amazon. The two players, both made by LG, are not identical. The Amazon price for the same player Wal-Mart sells is $99. Free shipping is available from both stores.
Wal-Mart’s online shoppers’ favorite toy purchase is a Lego set for $29.97. The Kinect for Xbox from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) for $249 is the second most popular toy, but, alas, it too is out-of-stock online. The Kinect version of the Xbox is the second-best selling game console at Amazon.
The bottom line appears to be that iPods continue to sell very well, which is good news for Apple. Now that DVD/Blu-ray players have fallen below the magical $100 price point, they are also in big demand.
Digital cameras still sell well, even though most cell phones now include a (not-very-good) camera. The interesting thing is the difference in price point between the best sellers at Wal-Mart and Amazon.
Wal-Mart’s best-selling items are based on sales through its online store. How things are going in the bricks-and-mortar part of the business won’t be known until the company’s next earnings report, due in February 2011.