New Report Reveals Customer Satisfaction With Apparel, Footwear

10/16/2013
The American Customer Satisfaction Index's new report reveals consumer sentiment about apparel, footwear and other consumer goods products.

Athletic shoes are the only nondurables category to improve customer satisfaction this year, gaining 1.3 percent to 81. Smaller brands, including Sketchers and New Balance, lead the industry, climbing 4 percent to an aggregate score of 83.

Adidas rebounds 4 percent to 80 after a drop a year ago, but the improved customer satisfaction may be indicative of simply losing the most dissatisfied customers. Adidas’ Reebok line of toning shoes was not well received, and according to customers quality and durability fell short. By contrast, Nike slips 3 percent to 78, even as it gains market share—the broader and the more diverse the customer base, the more difficult it becomes to appeal to all.

"While it is not certain that customer satisfaction on the average is up because Adidas has lost dissatisfied customers and that Nike’s ACSI is down because it has an influx of new customers to serve, it is a phenomenon that we have seen in the past," says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and Chairman. "In the extreme, if a company got rid of all but one of its customers and served that customer really well, it would have a high customer satisfaction score but no market. That is, one should always check if defecting customers might be a reason for rising averages in customer satisfaction."

Following two years of price-driven declines, customer satisfaction with apparel stabilizes at an ACSI score of 79, a fifteen-year low for the industry. Levi Strauss leads (82) the category, followed closely by V.F. (-1 percent) and Hanesbrands (+3 percent) at 81. Jones Group took the top spot last year, but now reverses course, falling 2 percent to 80. According to customers, price markdowns are not enough to offset lower quality, and the aggregate of smaller companies, including store brands, trails the rest of the industry at 78.
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