While the retail industry anticipates a turnaround in 2021, customer satisfaction is not heading in the right direction.
To measure and analyze customer satisfaction the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2020-2021 conducted interviews with 70,767 customers from January 13, 2020, to December 27, 2020.
The annual ACSI ranks the nation’s most satisfying retailers in five key retail segments: Department & Discount; Internet Retail; Specialty Retail; Supermarkets; and Health & Personal Care.
Among the five retail categories, not one escapes the trend of declining customer satisfaction in 2020.
Overall, the retail sector declines 2.3% to a score of 75.5 (out of 100), according to the report. This is the lowest ACSI score posted for the sector since 2015. One year ago, Internet retail was the only industry to show some improvement in customer satisfaction. For 2020, online retail loses the most ground, tumbling 3.7% to an ACSI score of 78. As such, the industry remains ahead of the other retail categories, but by much smaller margins. Specialty retail stores slide 1.3% to 77, while Supermarkets dive 2.6% to 76. The Department and Discount store industry wanes 1.3% to tie with Health and Personal care stores (-1.3%) at 75.
“2020 sent waves of disruption across the retail sector,” says David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “From mandatory closures that halted in-person shopping to stock shortages caused by panic buying, retailers experienced anything but business as usual. Deliveries from online retailers were delayed, and customers were frustrated when high-demand items sold out. And it shows, as 86% of the retailers measured suffer downturns in customer satisfaction year over year.”
Here is a quick look at the top finishers in each retail segment:
Sam’s Club (Walmart)
TJX (Marshalls, TJ Maxx)
Bass Pro Shops
Pet Retail Brands
Below is a list of the seven retailers that scored the highest overall in the rankings.
After four years of near-stable customer satisfaction, the supermarket industry plunges with 17 of 20 major grocers posting lower scores year-over-year. But Trader Joe’s tops the supermarket industry – and the entire retail sector – with a stable score of 84. Four companies tie for second place with scores of 82: Costco (down 1%), H-E-B (down 2%), Publix (down 1%), and Wegmans (down 2%).
Costco is the only retailer in the top seven to land top positions in three categories. It came in second place in Internet retail with a score of 80, second place in Supermarkets with a score of 82, and number one in Department & Discount with a score of 81. Costco remains in first place in in Department & Discount for a fifth straight year, despite declining 2% to a score of 81. Its lead is also shrinking.
Customer satisfaction with Specialty retail stores recedes 1.3% to an ACSI score of 77, marking the industry’s lowest point since 2015. L Brands sits atop the Specialty industry for a seventh straight year, yet slips 1% to an ACSI score of 81.
And finally, in a pivotal year for e-commerce, Nordstrom captures the Internet retail industry lead despite retreating 1% to 81. Former industry leader Amazon tumbles 5% to an all-time low score of 79 and, with a stable score of 78, Target is the only e-commerce retailer to buck the downward ACSI trend.
None of the Health and Personal Care (drug) retailers made our list of seven, as the industry weakens, dropping 1.3% to an ACSI score of 75.
To see the full rankings, Get the full American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2020-2021 here.
The top 7 finisher were:
Trader Joe’s (ACSI Score: 84)
Costco (ACSI Score: 82)
H-E-B (ACSI Score: 82)
Publix (ACSI Score: 82)
Wegmans (ACSI Score: 82)
L Brands (ACSI Score: 81)
Nordstrom (ACSI Score: 81)