WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The Internet, in theory, is an egalitarian force, a democratizing tool that levels the economic playing field for anyone with access to a computer and a modem. Apparently, according to a new survey by STORES Magazine and BIGresearch, that goes for online retailers, too.
While the biggest players -- Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT - Get Report), eBay (EBAY - Get Report), Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) and J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) -- still rank among the top five favorite online retailers, according to STORES Magazine and BIGresearch, many lesser-known companies have now cracked the list.
Blair.com, a value-priced men's and women's apparel retailer, sits at No. 18; Newegg.com, a discount electronics site comes in at No. 22; Sierra Trading Post, a discount sports apparel retailer, reaches No. 39; lower-priced apparel retailer Chadwick's jumps to No. 32 from No. 40 last year; and general merchandise discounter Meijer.com, debuts at No. 42.
But the best illustration of shoppers' desire for a bargain might be the debut of Craigslist at No. 25. Craigslist.com allows shoppers to nab used, cheap furniture, apparel and other items from other users.According to Phil Rist, executive vice president at BIGresearch, consumers are apparently less hesitant to turn to smaller e-commerce sites in the hunt for competitive prices. "The economy has had an intense impact on Americans' bottom line," says Rist. "No longer is it a hassle to cross towns to find the best deal possible if it saves the family a few extra dollars for groceries or other essential purchases." According to the list, shoppers are even utilizing search engines like Google (GOOG - Get Report), Yahoo (YHOO - Get Report) and AOL to find the best prices, with those sites landing at No. 8, No. 12 and No. 45, respectively, on the list of "shopping sites."