Why are some identical products sold at different prices?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted livelihoods and caused many families financial hardship. While people are struggling to make ends meet, ABC4 News compares product prices at the nation’s most popular retailers.

When it comes to buying from Walmart or Amazon, we asked locals where they use their card at most often?

“I buy all of my groceries at Walmart, but I buy a lot of other things on Amazon,” said shopper Samantha Galvan.

“I shop at Walmart more often for groceries because they have that nice pickup feature,” said another shopper Jaxon Ombach.

The two retail giants competing for your business both offer monthly or yearly subscriptions – with slight price differences – and free shipping options of up to two days. 

ABC4 News compared the prices of popular products to see where you can save money.

A 198-count of Huggies diapers cost $39.76 at Walmart and $46.70 on Amazon.

At Walmart, Maybelline lipstick rung up at $5.39 compared to Amazon’s $5.12.

Aveeno lotion cost $8.68 at Walmart and on Amazon it’s $8.54.

A 16-ounce two-pack Pepto Bismol cost $11.28 at Walmart, compared to $22 on Amazon.

Some items like dog bones, granola bars and Tide Pods cost the same at the two stores. 

A study of prices for 50 different products showed overall, Walmart is less expensive than amazon by 10.4%.

But why are identical products sold at different prices?

Utah State University associate professor of marketing Dr. Aaron Brough explains.

“Price is often determined by a combination of three different factors: a company’s cost, a company’s competitors prices and the consumer’s willingness to pay,” he said.

In his research, Dr. Brough has found price can have a significant influence on behavior of consumers.

“Some people are going to shop all over until they can find the best possible price,” Dr. Brough said.

However, he said low prices are not the only value companies can provide shoppers.

“Often people are willing to pay a higher price for other factors: if it’s a convenient location or great customer service or when it’s a brand they trust,” he said.

Balancing the demands of life, locals said convenience plays a large role in their shopping experience. 

“I like being able to do things from the comfort of my home,” Galvan said.

“I’ve never looked at prices of groceries my whole life. I just do what’s most convenient, rather than cheapest,” Ombach said.

While many of Walmart’s prices remain lower than Amazon, Statista reports Amazon is America’s favorite online store, with Walmart as their second pick, and Target as their third choice.

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