Customer satisfaction with the retail industry is stabilizing following two years of decline, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.
The economic indicator, which takes into account consumer evaluations on products and services across the United States, showed that overall customer satisfaction with retail inched up a modest 0.1% last year to a score of 77.3 on the index’s 100-point scale.
The ACSI’s report covers six categories: department and discount stores, specialty retail stores, health and personal care stores, supermarkets, internet retail and consumer shipping. For each category, customers evaluated the largest companies in terms of market share. The report noted that, while consumers found “no improvement” among brick-and-mortar categories, internet retail continued to make gains and demonstrate a stronger level of customer satisfaction, growing 1.3% to 81.
According to the ACSI, three firms categorized as internet retail turned in scores above last year’s industry average of 81. Nordstrom, which scored 82, hails from traditional retail, but e-commerce now represents a little more than one-third of its sales. It has often been lauded for its innovative concepts and omnichannel savvy, including its pioneering of the “buy online, pick up in store” service, a revamped loyalty program and experiential store offerings.
E-commerce giant Amazon retook the lead in consumer satisfaction among internet retailers with a score of 83, followed by online marketplace Etsy at 82. In 2018, Costco topped the list.
The department and discount stores category, on the other hand, recorded a score of 76, which is unchanged from 2018 after a two-year decline in consumer satisfaction. However, the ACSI pointed out that many traditional retailers have either begun adopting or have ramped up their omnichannel approaches (think online order fulfillment or one-day shipping) as online retail continues to gain ground.
Costco remained the sector’s pacesetter, leading at 83 for the fourth consecutive year. Discount chain Kohl’s also tied Nordstrom in third place with a score of 79.
Much like that of department and discount stores, consumer confidence in the specialty stores category remained steady with an overall score of 78 following a two-year dip. Among the retailers that improved were Abercrombie & Fitch, Foot Locker and Gap — all of which achieved scores of 79. Burlington, however, was unchanged at 76, while Dick’s Sporting Goods’ gained little, putting it on par with the off-pricer.
The ACSI’s retail and consumer shipping report analyzed data from interviews with roughly 500,000 customers about more than 400 companies across 46 industries.
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