Target doesn't have nearly as many stores as Walmart or anything approaching the digital infrastructure of Amazon -- and both of those retailers generate far more revenue. Target simply isn't big enough to compete on scale, according to TheStreet, but the company endured the pandemic and continues to thrive by getting creative with innovative shipping and return strategies.
Target is known as a great place to find hidden gems -- if you know where to look. But the bull's-eye brand is also home to plenty of other things you can find cheaper or of a better quality elsewhere.
Do Buy Green Cleaning Products
When Target launched its Everspring line of eco-friendly cleaning products in 2019, Chowhound called it "a more affordable Mrs. Meyer's." Reviewers mostly fawned over the line's gentle but effective ingredients, pleasant scents, recycled packaging and affordable price. Approaching three years later, Everspring is still cheaper than Meyers, Seventh Generation, Method and other brand-name competitors.
In 2021, Target's green cleaning lineup was joined by Grove Co., whose refillable concentrates and reusable bottles follow the same theme of eco-chic cleaning on a budget.
Don't Buy Furniture
MyMove recently profiled Target as one of the country's top low-cost furniture retailers for movers on a budget -- and there are certainly low price tags to be found. Unfortunately with Target's furniture, inexpensive often translates into cheap.
"You should not buy any type of furniture at Target," said Marcos Martinez, owner of the lifestyle blog Men Who Brunch. "Do not buy any dining sets. Yes, it's affordable -- but not durable."
Melanie Bedwell, e-commerce manager for OLIPOP, agrees.
"I'd also avoid buying furniture at Target," Bedwell said. "The quality is not great. If you're looking for a budget option for a college student or as a first-time home buyer, I'd suggest Ikea instead. They offer better deals and usually decent quality for the price."
Do Buy Home Decor
In 2021, Self Financial conducted a study that spelled good news for Target shoppers who were considering giving their homes a makeover -- Target sells home decor for much less than its biggest competitors.
The study found that it costs an average of $2,438.80 to deck out an entire house -- the research provided a room-by-room breakdown -- when shopping at Target. Comparatively, it cost $2,585.53 at the next-cheapest store, Ikea.
No. 3 was Bed Bath & Beyond, for $3,495.38. At No. 5 AllModern, it was $7,328.00. A house full of hip stuff from No. 7 Crate & Barrel would cost $14,709.23. At the most expensive store in the survey, Pottery Barn, a house full of new decor cost an average of $17,712.46.
Do Buy Budget Wine
If you're on a budget but you love to dabble in vino and you live near a Target that sells wine, do yourself a favor and make California Roots your new favorite brand. When Target unveiled the new label in 2017, it was just $5 a bottle. Fast-forward nearly five years and you can still get a bottle for $5 -- only now there are nine varieties to choose from instead of just five.
Don't Buy Tech
Last year, a report from CNET showed that, among the big retailers, Best Buy offered the best in-store experience for shoppers who wanted to compare items like televisions. But America's last major national electronics retailer isn't just a better place to examine and compare devices with screens. Tech, in general, is not always Target's forte -- and Best Buy is not the only competitor.
"Unless you're planning to shop for electronics during one of Target's holiday blowout sales, it's best to make your big tech purchases elsewhere," said Ahmed Sakaliev of Travel Fnatic. "Particularly online where you can compare prices."
Do Buy Tech Accessories
Although you might want to make the big electronics purchases at Best Buy or Amazon, the little things that go with them are often a steal at Target.
"For items to purchase at Target, tech accessories -- such as the ones from their brand HeyDay -- are priced well for the quality that you are getting," said Lesha Vincent of LivingLesh.com. "HeyDay includes items such as phone cases, vlogging equipment, wireless charges, etc."
Don't Buy Books
Target sells books, but the selection is underwhelming and the prices generally aren't worth the compromise.
"When it comes to purchasing books, I know that the Barnes & Noble store next door has a variety of genres compared to Target, and I would always go for it despite the price difference," said Andre Flynn, founder of Gadnets.com.
Steven Walker, CEO of Spylix, agrees.
"Most of the Target books have a 20% discount coupon, but you can still find them cheaper on other sites," Walker said. "And they don't have a vast collection of books."
Do Buy Meat
While many shopping experts advise against buying produce at Target, the meat aisle is often packed with discounts.
"One lesser-known deal you can consistently find at Target is on meat in the grocery," said Cara Berkeley of the personal finance blog Penny Polly. "Almost every time I shop at Target, they will have a few packages of meat with coupons attached to them for large amounts off. The minimum coupon I have seen was for $1 off, but most often I am able to get $3 off per package. I have found steals on chicken, ground turkey and beef.
"This is significant savings that I do not find at other grocery stores, so I frequent Target just for this."
Don't Buy Coffee
Target's coffee aisle has a reputation for mediocrity in both quality and pricing.
"I'd avoid buying coffee from Target," Bedwell said. "Their Market Pantry brand is not good, and their name brands that they sell are not a deal. I'd recommend buying Trader Joe's or Wegman's own line of coffee over Target."
"It is much better to stick to the name brands," he said, citing the results of a widely circulated Consumer Reports blind taste test that put Target's Market Pantry brand coffee at the bottom of the pack.
Do Buy Bathing Suits
Fashion-savvy shoppers on budgets have long flocked to Target for its deep inventory of affordable-chic apparel and accessories. But the apparel you wear to the beach might just be the best deal of all.
"As a fashionista, I love the great deals you can get on trendy clothing items, especially swimsuits," said Jodie Filogomo, an expert shopper and founder of Jodie's Touch of Style. "You can't find a better deal on both one-piece and two-piece swimsuits in all sizes and styles."
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Things You Should Always (or Never) Buy at Target