More junk science from Consumer Reports

Walmart will sell a bazillion electronics products this holiday season, no thanks to Consumer Reports which rates the company last as a CE destination.

Apple and Costco were ranked one and two as the best venues for CE items followed by a bizarre classification called "independents," considering the CE space is dominated by chains. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and Sam’s Club ranked highly. Walmart was last among the 14 physical retailers ranked with a score of 81, compared to Apple and Costco at 92.

Could Walmart do a better job with the CE department? Absolutely. But the scores are really irrelevant because retailers serve different shoppers segments who have varying expectations when it comes to price, service, selection and other elements of the shopping experience. The Consumer Reports exercise doesn’t take these factors into account which makes its ratings essentially useless for anyone relying on the publication for insight into where to make a CE purchase.

Instead, the ratings are a highly subjective assessment of the 23,639 Consumer Reports readers who bought CE item during the 18 month period from January 2011 through June 2012. As such, they reflect only the views of those who subscribe to the publication, glaring deficiency the publication calls out with the footnote, "Results might not reflect the U.S. population." The ratings reflect the demographics of the Consumer Reports audience and those details are not provided even thought such insights would make the results more revelvant.


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