Best Buy Thrives Without Competition

With Circuit City out of the picture, very little is standing in Best Buy's way to become an utterly dominant electronic retailer. A chart from Bloomberg today demonstrates that's exactly what's happening. Of course, this should come as no surprise: with no significant competitors, Best Buy's sales are soaring.

Here's that chart:

best buy 2009.PNG

Yes, Best Buy is tearing it up. As you can see, at the beginning of 2008, Best Buy's monthly sales were only slightly higher than the competitors shown. That's changed. A lot. In 2009, it hasn't even been a contest.

Of course, to be fair, the other retailers shown are all pretty minor compared to Best Buy. The only other kind of significant name on this chart is Radio Shack "The Shack." And other than when I needed a diode for my high school physics class, I haven't shopped there if given another option. Looking at that sad green line, I must not be alone.

If Best Buy is the only option in town, then that's probably bad news for consumers. Without significant competition, it doesn't have to worry about offering great prices. If there isn't any other store from which to buy a product for cheaper, then what choice do you have but pay Best Buy's prices?

But the chart isn't the whole picture. Other stores, particularly discount retailers like Wal-mart and Target, are also scooping up some of the market share that Circuit City left behind. But for anyone who wants to go to an electronics specialty retailer, Best Buy is the obvious, and virtually only, choice these days. Unless online shopping or those other more diversified retailers can manage to lure consumers away, it should enjoy an easy ride going forward.