Target Vs. Walmart: Which Is Really Cheaper?

Target Vs. Walmart: Which Is Really Cheaper?

A recent study that compared a basketful of the same products from each retailer found that Walmart was generally cheaper—unless customers used Target’s REDcard.

A new study from Boston-based Kantar Retail, which filled a shopping basket with the same products from Target and Walmart, found that the price tag was 3.8 percent cheaper at Walmart.

Kantar's semi-annual “Basket Pricing Study” focused on three product categories: “edible groceries” (such as Starkist canned tuna, Land O’ Lakes butter and DiGiorno frozen pizza), “non-edible groceries” (such as Ajax dish soap and Reynold’s aluminum foil), and health and beauty aids (such as Advil and Old Spice deodorant).

Conducted in January, the study looked at products with identical Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) to ensure that the products were the same at each retailer. For example, a fridge-pack of canned Coca-Cola Classic has the same SKU whether bought at Target or Walmart.

When all the products were tallied up, the Walmart shopping basket totaled $248.96 and the Target basket totaled $258.47.

During the last study, which was conducted in June 2013, Target was only 2 percent more expensive than Walmart. The growing gap between the two retailers’ prices came despite Target’s effort to re-emphasize its “Pay Less” tagline, Kantar Principal Analyst Laura Kennedy said in a statement.

“While Walmart opened up a bigger lead versus Target in this particular study, the overall gap has remained steady in recent years,” she added.

Even though Walmart was cheaper for the average customer overall, there was were discrepancies with various products involved in the study. The portion of Target products that were 30 percent more expensive than Walmart grew—but so did the number of products that were at least 10 percent cheaper, the study found.

The study also came with a caveat: Consumers using Target’s REDcard, which gives holders a 5 percent discount, actually had the cheapest basket with a savings of 1.4 percent over Walmart.