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Are US Shoppers Satisfied with their Retail Firms?

Retail Store

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for 2015 shows a slight drop in U.S. shoppers’ satisfaction with nationwide retailers, with online sellers again the best rated.

19 april 2016

The retail sector suffered a second consecutive year of dwindling customer satisfaction in 2015 after reaching historic highs two years ago. Overall, retailers scored an average of 74.8 (out of 100) on the ACSI Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures customer experience across a number of industry-specific categories. This is down 2.6% from last year and 3.98% below 2013’s all-time high of 77.9.

Once again, Internet Retailers (or E-Retailers) were the best rated by American shoppers, despite a 2.4% dip from last year’s results. Online customers rated these firms 80 out of 100 on average, well ahead of their retail counterparts.

Amazon registered a score of 83, easily the best amongst its rivals, and still one of the best marks all around the retail sector (only Supermarket chain Wegmans did better).

But the good news ends there for the e-commerce juggernaut: an 83 is Amazon’s worst performance since the ACSI began registering results for online retailers, back in the year 2000. It highlights a slightly worrying trend for big online merchants: Newegg (79), Ebay (75) and Overstock (73) all fell from two to four points below their previous minimums, while Netflix (76) suffered a worrying 5 point loss (-6.2%), which the report chalks up to a higher subscription price for new and soon existing customers since October. The “Others” category (80) remains close to its 15-year average.

Despite this, Internet retailers surpassed their previous results on just about every customer experience benchmark. Only customer support (live chat, help pages or call centres) rated lower than last year (79 to 77), with the sector excelling at ease of checkout and payment (88), ease of navigation, site performance, usefulness of product images and variety of merchandise (84 each).

Retail Results by Sector

ACSI Results by Sector. Source:


The remaining five retail sectors showed similar results, with only Gas Stations rating better amongst customers in 2015, likely due to lower gas prices. Health and Personal Care stores fell over 5%, the highest drop amongst retail industries, with only cross-industry retailers remaining level. Supermarkets (73) and Department & Discount stores (74) both fell 3.9%, with Speciality Retail stores (77) declining by 2.5%.

The top three scorers this year were Wegmans (86), Amazon (83) and Trader Joe’s (83, Supermarket), with the bottom three being Abercrombie & Fitch (65, Speciality), Wal-Mart (66 in Department & Discount, 67 in Supermarkets) and Giant Eagle (67, Supermarket). Target recorded both the strongest and the weakest year-to-year results, with a 3% increase as a Health and Personal Care seller, but slumping 12% in the Supermarket industry.

The ACSI surveyed approximately 9 500 randomly selected U.S. retail customers, in the four weeks following November 12, for this report.


ACSI Retail Report Archive