Toy Prices In Flux – Walmart Still Cheapest

A new study by Bloomberg Industries has found that the prices on toys at Walmart are cheaper, and the gap between prices at Walmart and other major retailers in the survey is growing.

This new study is an update to a survey we reported on here at NFS just over a month ago. In that story, we backed up their results with our own toy survey. We took another look at those same toys today to see how prices have changed (results below).

Bloomberg expanded their survey from 20 toys in last month’s survey to 116 now. Using prices found online, they compared the prices between Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Toys “R” Us.

They found that, overall, Walmart’s prices were 4.7% cheaper at Walmart than Target, and 4.6% cheaper at Walmart than at Amazon. The study noted that prices were also higher at Kmart and Toys “R” Us, but did not provide percentages.

Bloomberg found better toy availability at Amazon, with all 116 toys in the survey being available at Amazon.com. They found that 24% of the toys in the survey were not available at Target, 19% were unavailable at Walmart and Kmart, and 17% were unavailable at Toys “R” Us.

Last month, we took at look at five toys, chosen randomly from a list of toys expected to be popular this year, and compared prices. The results mimicked Bloomberg’s “Walmart is cheaper” findings. Now we’ll take those same five toys and see what has happened to prices since then.

Toy: LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet:

On October 14, 2011: at Walmart and Amazon $99.99, Toys “R” Us $99.99, and it’s not available at Kmart.

Now: Walmart, no longer available. Amazon: $180.99, Toys “R” Us $99.99, Kmart $99.99.

–  Toys “R” Us and Kmart take the cake on this toy, lowest available price the same as before.

Toy: Rescue Optimus Prime Fire Station:

On October 14, 2011: at Walmart and Amazon $39.88, at Kmart $44.99, and it’s not available at Toys “R” Us.

Now: at Walmart and Amazon $29.88, Kmart: $39.99, Toys “R” Us $34.99

– Walmart and Amazon with the lowest prices here, lowest price lower now.

Toy: Fisher Price Imaginext Bat Cave:

at Walmart and Amazon, $49.88, at Kmart $54.99, and at Toys “R” Us $54.99.

at Walmart and Amazon, $44.97, at Kmart it’s $44.99, and at Toys “R” Us it is $49.99.

– Walmart, Amazon, and Kmart about even with the cheapest, lowest price lower now.

Toy: Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster:

at Walmart and Amazon, $39.88, at Kmart and Toys “R” Us $49.99.

at Walmart (value pack version) $36.96, Amazon, $39.88, Kmart $36.99, Toys “R” Us $39.99.

– Walmart and Kmart come out ahead here, Walmart’s lowest price on this item includes some accessories, lowest price lower now.

Toy: Fisher Price Power Wheels Barbie Jammin Jeep:

at Walmart $249.97, at Amazon $289.99, at Kmart $279.99, and at Toys “R” Us $299.99.

at Walmart $229.97, at Amazon $249.99, at Kmart $229.99, and at Toys “R” Us $249.99.

– Walmart and Kmart have the lowest price on this one, , lowest price lower now.

What we found interesting is that, in our five toy survey, four out of the five toys have lower ‘lowest’ prices than they did just a month ago. This indicates toy prices may be on the decline leading into the holiday shopping season. While the Bloomberg study did not provide results on month to month price comparisons, it would be interesting to know if their larger scale study would have provided the same results.

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.