Consumer Electronics: Top Stores & Market Share
Online Consumer Electronics Market in the United States: Amazon, Apple, Bestbuy
Consumers in the U.S. typically purchase their electronics from Amazon, with Apple and Bestbuy being other key players in the sector. Gain further insights into the U.S. consumer electronics market from our detailed analysis.Article by Cihan Uzunoglu | January 09, 2024
Online Consumer Electronics Market in the United States: Key Insights
Amazon.com: The leading online store has shown impressive growth in the U.S. online consumer electronics market from 2019 to 2022, largely due to its effective adaptation to market changes and challenges during the pandemic.
Apple.com: The tech giant’s sales in the U.S. online consumer electronics market have shown a varied trend from 2019 to 2022, with a notable jump in 2021, but are expected to decrease in 2023 arguably due to market shifts and increased competition.
Bestbuy.com: The third largest store in the U.S. online consumer electronics market experienced a significant increase in 2020 due to the pandemic's boost to digital shopping, with a strong focus on omnichannel services, but has seen a decline in sales since then.
Walmart.com & Dell.com: These online stores have experienced contrasting trends in the U.S. online consumer electronics market, with the former's sales growing steadily, and the latter's sales fluctuating in recent years despite overall sales growth at Dell Technologies.
Declining Online Electronics Prices: Digital Price Index (DPI) offers an essential perspective on online consumer behavior and pricing, indicating significant year-over-year price decreases in the electronics category in recent months.
The online consumer electronics market in the United States has seen remarkable changes and shifts in the past few years, particularly since the pandemic. Amazon.com, the market leader, has maintained a strong lead during this period. While Apple.com has experienced ups and downs but remained a major player, Bestbuy.com has faced challenges in maintaining its position.
Amazon.com: Leader in the U.S. Online Consumer Electronics Market
Between 2019 and 2022, Amazon.com has demonstrated consistent and remarkable growth in the U.S. online consumer electronics market. The online store’s sales of US$22.92 billion in 2019 increased to US$32.22 billion in 2020, showcasing a 40% increase. This upward trend triggered by the pandemic continued with US$34.9 billion in 2021, reaching US$35.56 billion in 2022.
Amazon.com's growth in this period can be largely attributed to its ability to adapt to and capitalize on the changing consumer landscape during the pandemic. Despite global supply chain disruptions, Amazon's effective handling of supply chain challenges, continuous investment in its Prime services, and diversification into physical retail spaces like its first apparel store further contributed to its strong market position. These factors, combined with Amazon's strategic response to labor supply shortages and inflationary pressures, have helped solidify its dominance in the market.
A forecast of US$38.36 billion net sales in the U.S. online consumer electronics market for 2023 highlights Amazon's strong position in the market, highly likely to continue dominating the market in the years to come.
Apple.com: Key Player Despite Fluctuations
In comparison to Amazon.com, Apple.com's journey in the market has been more varied. The online store’s sales were US$13.40 billion in 2019, increasing moderately to US$15.97 billion in 2020. However, there was a significant jump in 2021, with sales reaching US$28.18 billion. This rise from 2020 to 2021 was influenced by several factors, including product launch timing, the global chip crisis, and evolving market conditions.
The moderate increase in 2020 sales, despite the pandemic-induced online shopping surge, can be partly attributed to the late-year release of the iPhone 12 series, coupled with initial uncertainty impacting consumer spending on luxury items. In contrast, the substantial sales boost in 2021 coincided with the earlier launch of the iPhone 13 series in September, providing a longer sales window in the critical Q4 period and benefiting from consumers' adjusted spending behavior in the pandemic's progressing stages.
Additionally, while the global chip shortage affected the electronics industry broadly, Apple's effective supply chain management likely mitigated some impacts, ensuring adequate product availability. However, supply constraints may have also created suppressed demand, contributing to the sales surge once availability improved in 2021.
Apple.com’s sales in the U.S. online consumer electronics market remained high in 2022 at US$30.99 billion but are expected to drop slightly to US$25.86 billion in 2023. This projected decrease might indicate a shifting market or intensified competition.
Bestbuy.com: Net Sales Decrease Since 2020
Bestbuy.com, the third major player in the market we’re looking at, had a different path from the online stores we’ve analyzed so far. Going back to 2019, we see that their pre-pandemic sales of US$2.98 billion saw a notable increase to US$7.28 billion in 2020.
Key factors contributing to this growth included high conversion rates, increased site traffic, and a strong emphasis on omnichannel services like buy online pick up in store and curbside pickup, which represented a significant portion of digital sales. In fact, more than 40% of the company's digital sales came from these omnichannel services, and eCommerce represented more than half (53%) of total domestic revenue in the second quarter of 2020.
However, Bestbuy.com’s online consumer electronics sales in the U.S. have been declining since then: US$6.41 billion in 2021, US$5.54 billion in 2022 and an expected further decrease to US$5.36 billion in 2023. This suggests that the explosive growth seen in 2020 was an exception rather than the new normal.
Walmart.com: Consistent Market Growth
Walmart.com's sales have generally been on the rise, from US$2.01 billion in 2019 to a forecast of US$5.23 billion in 2023. In 2020, Walmart.com's electronics category experienced a remarkable year-over-year growth of 116%, driven largely by the increased demand during the pandemic.
This growth was highlighted during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, where sales in the electronics category reached around US$41 million, a 65% increase over the 2019 weekend sales.
Dell.com: Pandemic Boost Didn’t Last
Dell.com's sales in the U.S. online consumer electronics market, however, showed fluctuations in the past few years. 2019’s net sales of US$1.49 billion increased to US$2.05 billion in 2020, followed by US$2.24 billion in 2021, before declining to US$1.95 billion in 2022. The forecast for 2023 shows a further decrease to US$1.63 billion.
This trend reflects Dell's challenges in a competitive market, despite Dell Technologies' overall revenue growth to US$102.3 billion in fiscal year 2023, which marked a 1% increase from the previous year but experienced an 11% decline in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Learn More About the ECDB Store Rankings
Online Electronics Prices in the U.S. Declining
While analyzing the unique paths and strategies of these major players offers valuable insights, it's equally important to consider broader market trends that influence consumer behavior and pricing. In doing so, the Digital Price Index (DPI) by Adobe serves as a vital tool for understanding these trends, providing a comprehensive view of online consumer spending that complements traditional metrics like the Consumer Price Index.
Serving as an addition to the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which focuses on in-store prices, DPI examines over a trillion visits to various retail websites and scrutinizes more than 100 million stock keeping units (SKUs) across 18 different product types in the U.S.
Recent figures from August 2023 indicate a marked decrease in the prices of electronic goods in the U.S. The said month saw a decline of 11.6% year-over-year (YoY), following a 0.8% month-over-month (MoM) drop. Previous months also recorded similar trends, with July 2023 experiencing a 11.7% YoY decrease and June 2023 seeing a 12.9% YoY reduction.
The recent drop in electronics prices is a clear indicator of the overall trend of decreasing global inflation. This correspondence is significant, as electronics is a key sector in discretionary spending. The change in prices of this market not only reflects wider economic conditions, but can also argued to play a pivotal role in shaping the trend of online inflation.
Sources: Retail Insight Network, TechRepublic, Digital Commerce 360, Jungle Scout, Dell, Adobe, IMF, ECDB