Costco vs. Walmart: We Compared Their Grocery Prices To See Which Offers The Best Value
It really wasn't a contest.
But they do have their similarities. Both claim to offer consumers a wide selection of products with among the lowest prices on the market. And both have a devout customer base.
We compared them to see which most merits that praise.
To do this, we took the same 20-item shopping list to their online stores. The result is more like a partial look at the value of each shop's offering at a given moment than it is a determination of the business with the lowest prices. But the exercise nevertheless provides insight into the advantages and disadvantages of each store.
Here is our shopping list:
- Regular olive oil
- Canned tuna (any kind)
- White rice
- Regular ground coffee
- Mac n' cheese
- Regular (not light) peanut butter
- Sea salt
- Maple syrup (excluding table syrup)
- Dish soap
- Laundry detergent
- Glass cleaner (fluid)
- Paper towels
- AA batteries
- Protein/energy bars
- Body (bar) soap
We selected only products that were available online for delivery at the time of writing. We excluded items that were out of stock.
For the purposes of this exercise, we set our delivery address to Montreal City Hall (275, rue Notre Dame E.).
In all cases, the products on the list represent those that presented the best value, not just the lowest price. That sometimes meant selecting products that were more expensive overall, but that offered a higher quantity for comparably less money than smaller, cheaper items.
We did, however, exclude products that were impractically large. Costco, for example, sells a $279.99 25-kilogram barrel of maple syrup. We did not consider it when choosing the maple syrup product with the best value.
Finally, this list does include some items that were on sale at the time of writing. Those cases are noted.
The products we selected from each store are in the tables below. In addition to each item's price tag, we note their price per kilogram, litre or unit, rounded to the nearest cent (with the exception of paper towels, whose price we rounded to the nearest ten-thousandth of a cent). In the final section of this article, we use those calculations to determine which store offered the best value for each product.
The cost of each grocery haul is less important than the value comparison, but we note total costs in each section, as well.
A table showing a list of Costco products, their marked prices and prices per kilogram, litre or unit.MTL Blog
- Item total: $356.70
- Total including taxes (there was no additional delivery fee): $381.01
A table showing a list of Walmart products, their marked prices and prices per kilogram, litre or unit.MTL Blog
- Item total: $131.75
- Total including taxes and delivery fees: $149.48
A table comparing the value of Costco and Walmart products.MTL Blog
Of the 20 items on our online shopping list, Walmart offered a better value for 15. Though these conclusions don't take into account the fact that online, Costco prices include delivery fees while Walmart's do not.
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