Companies and Brands

Discover 8 Things Cheaper At Target Than Costco

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Comparing prices at Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) may seem like comparing apples and oranges. Costco generally offers better prices on bulk purchases, while Target may offer a better price for a particular item.

Target’s average customer is a woman 35 to 44 years old from a household with an income of $80,000, living in the suburbs with one or two children at home. Costco’s average customer is an Asian-American woman of the same age with a household income of $125,000. Costco is also more attractive to older customers. A Target customer makes about two trips a month (23 per year) and spends about $50 per visit. Costco members make about the same number of trips (30) but spend around $100 per trip.

Where Target beats Costco on price


Here’s a closer look at eight items sold by both stores. All but one are national brands

Toilet paper

  • Target Price: Up & Up Soft & Strong, 30 rolls, 2-ply, 1,203.3 sq. ft. per roll: $19.99
  • Costco Price: Kirkland Signature Bath Tissue, 30 rolls, 2-ply, 1,425 sq. ft: $23.49

Kirkland toilet paper is Costco’s best-selling product. The store sells more than a billion rolls every year. So, why is toilet paper cheaper at Target? Most likely because Target is willing to take a smaller profit in order to nibble away at Costco’s top-seller. For national brand Cottonelle Ultra Comfort, Target sells a 30-roll package for $25.99 ($0.87 per roll); Costco sells a 36-roll package for $31.99 ($0.89 per roll).

Water filtering pitchers

  • Target Price: Brita, 6-cup Denali Pitcher: $19.89
  • Costco Price: Brita, 10-cup Champlain Pitcher: $42.99

Although both products come from the same manufacturer and use Brita’s Standard filters, the capacity of the Costco pitcher is greater. The Costco product comes with 2 filters; the Target pitcher with one. The Target price for one replacement filter is $8.99. Adding in the price of the extra filter from Costco and increasing the cost of the Target product to add four ounces of capacity raises the cost of the Target pitcher to $36.92.

 Apple AirPods

  • Target Price: 2nd Generation with charging case: $129.99
  • Costco Price: 2nd Generation with charging case: $189.99

The big difference in price reflects some significant differences in the products.  The major difference is that the Costco model has active noise cancellation and supports Apple’s spatial audio feature. Neither is available on the Target model. The Target version includes a Lightning-to-USB-A cable, while the Costco version includes Apple’s MagSafe charging case. Costco offers a lower-priced Gen3 model. Target offers four models, including one Gen3 model.

Kid’s rechargeable electric toothbrush

  • Target Price: Oral-B featuring The Mandalorian: $29.99
  • Costco Price: Oral-B featuring Frozen II or Spiderman: $39.99

These two products appear to be identical except for the Disney character featured on the 4 stickers included with each toothbrush. While the Target version is cheaper, it comes with only one brush head; the Costco version includes 4 brush heads. Replacement packs of 2 brush heads are available for $18.99 from several websites, including Target but not Costco.

Child car seat

  • Target Price: Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat: $249.99
  • Costco Price: Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat: $279.99

These two car seats are virtually identical. Both can be used as rear-facing, front-facing, and booster seats. Both can add five inches of extra legroom in their rear-facing positions. In the rear-facing position, the seats are rated for weights of 4 to 50 pounds; in the front-facing position, the weight rating for both is 22 to 65 pounds; and the booster seat is rated for children over 40 pounds. The Costco version is rated for children weighing up to 120 pounds. The Target version is rated for children weighing up to 100 pounds.

Wall mirror

  • Target Price: 30-inch Round Wood Framed Mirror: $232.99
  • Costco Price: 36-inch Round Saran Mirror: $389.00

This comparison is not as dubious as it may appear. Although the Costco mirror is nominally larger, the frame itself covers some of the mirror. The Costco item has a mirror diameter of 29 inches; the Target mirror surface is 28.5 inches in diameter. The Costco mirror’s frame is veneered over MDF. Target’s frame is solid wood. Target does not sell the mirror in its stores, and it appears that Costco does not sell its mirror in stores, although it doesn’t say so.

Apple Watch Series 8

  • Target Price: GPS + Cellular: $354.99
  • Costco Price: GPS + Cellular: $419.97

Apple Watch Series 8 was released a year ago, and the company moved on to the Series 9 in September. Target has cut its price on the Series 8 by $175. The new Series 9 now sells for the previous Series 8 price of $529.99. Both stores have limited quantities of the older model, and both are selling the Series 9 for the same price.

Single-serve coffee maker

  • Target Price: Keurig K-Iced Plus Single-Serve K-Cup: $99.99 (online price)
  • Costco Price: Keurig K-Slim+Iced Single Service Coffee Maker: $119.99

Both coffee makers brew 8-, 10-, and 12-ounce cups and have a water reservoir holding 46 ounces. The Costco brewer includes a sample package of 24 Iced K-cup pods and 6 Kirkland Signature pods. Kirkland Signature pods cost $37.99 for 120 (about $0.32 each). Target sells Keuring co-branded Starbucks Pike Place pods in a package of 44 for $31.99 ($0.73 per pod). Costco sells the same pods in a package of 72 for $42.99 ($0.60 per pod).

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