For the past few years, the world has become increasingly obsessed with gadgets and electronics. Technological breakthroughs happen seemingly daily, with exciting, new product releases clustered shortly afterwards. Indeed, nearly a third of respondents to the Compete Shopper Intelligence Survey replied that they plan to purchase electronics in the next 6 months.
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With all this gadget obsession, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) should be rising to the top of the pack as one of the only large-scale retailers dedicated to electronics, but site visitation is telling a different story:
As you can see from these top retailers, Best Buy is far behind the pack – the number of people shopping its website has even been consistently below the numbers of people shopping the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) site Apple.com ever since March of this year, only gaining a slight lead during Black Friday sales. With Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) also selling many of the same electronics items as Best Buy, and Apple giving consumers the ability to buy items directly from either an Apple store or the Apple website, Best Buy looks as though it is getting squeezed in multiple directions.
In terms of the number of people who visited one of those retailers in December 2009 and continued shopping at that website as a percentage of all the people who visited that month, it’s interesting to note that Best Buy shows similar trends to many of the other retailers – just at lower volumes. One trend that stands out though is that while the loyal shoppers at the other retailers remained at similar or higher levels even after the December 2010 holiday season, the number of loyal Best Buy shoppers continued falling after the December 2010 bump.
Comparing daily reach across Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Walmart, all four retailers show similar daily visitation trends with spikes every Sunday, occasional mid-week bumps, and Friday lows. Again, Best Buy has the lowest reach, and has been steadily dropping below reach to Apple.com throughout March.
While Best Buy remains the largest electronics retailer, consumers these days are used to having multiple options for everything, and many of the other retailers are rapidly encroaching on the space. Best Buy needs to find some magical combination of leveraging its strong physical presence and electronic know-how to become more of a one-stop shop for consumers being tempted away by other outlets. The slower summer months could be a good time to experiment, as people will be more interested in things that will help them with their outdoor summer plans, such as camping, barbeques, or long road trips.