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03/04/2022

Trader Joe’s tops again in customer satisfaction

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Trader Joe's
The overall customer satisfaction score for retail is 75 (out of 100), according to the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail and Consumer Shipping Study.

Customer satisfaction with retail is relatively stable.

Trader Joe’s topped the supermarket industry — and all other retail sectors — with a score of 85 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2021 – 2022. The overall customer satisfaction score for retail dipped 0.5% to a score of 75 (out of 100) from 75.5 last year, when it fell 2.3%.

“Cool stability” is the best way to describe the retail sector at the present time, according to David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI.

 “As we progress toward year three of the pandemic, online retail is the only industry that undergoes a satisfaction decline,” he said.  If I had to guess, I’d say that although customers are likely frustrated with more frequent product delays and limited inventory, they’ve also adjusted their expectations at the same time. This patience bodes well for retailers.”

Here is a look at the scores in the individual retail categories and consumer shipping.

Supermarkets; Trader Joe’s maintains lead over supermarkets and tops the entire Index
The supermarket industry stops its one-year slide with a steady ACSI score of 76.

Trader Joe’s leads all supermarkets – and the entire Index – rising 1% to 85. H-E-B is next, unchanged at 82, followed by a three-way tie for third between Aldi (up 1%), Costco (down 1%), and Wegmans (down 1%).

Publix backtracks 2% to 80, just ahead of Sam’s Club, down 1% to 79, and BJ’s Wholesale Club, unchanged at 78.

Southeastern Grocers stays near the bottom of the industry despite rising 3% to 75. The grocer just outpaces a stable Save A Lot at 74. Albertsons Companies (unchanged at 71) ekes out last-place Walmart, which slips 1% to 70.

Department and Discount Stores: Costco maintains lead; Target moves up
After sliding last year, customer satisfaction with department and discount stores holds steady with an ACSI score of 75.

Costco remains in first place – for the sixth consecutive year – with a stable mark of 81. Nordstrom (including Nordstrom Rack) stays in second, despite inching back 1% to 79. There’s a three-way tie for third place, with Kohl’s (unchanged), Sam’s Club (down 1%), and Target (up 3%) all scoring 78.

Four retailers tie at 77: BJ’s Wholesale Club (unchanged), Dillard’s (down 3%), J.C. Penney (up 1%), and TJX’s Marshalls and TJ Maxx (down 1%).

Among the low-end performers, Big Lots fizzles 1% to 72, tying Dollar General, which increases 1%. Fred Meyer (down 1%) and Walmart (unchanged) share the bottom of the category with ACSI scores of 71.

Online Retail: Etsy takes lead; Macy’s surges
Customer satisfaction with online retail slips 1.3% to an ACSI score of 77.

Etsy moves into first place, climbing 3% to 82. Last year’s leader Nordstrom is second, unchanged at 81. Macy’s surges 4% into third place at 80, just ahead of Costco, down 1% to 79.

Five online retailers and the group of smaller sites (up 4%) tie at 78: Amazon (down 1%), Dell (up 1%), Kohl’s (down 1%), Nike (down 1%), and Target (unchanged). Once the ACSI leader for online retail, Amazon now fades to a record low for satisfaction.

Newegg (down 4%) and Staples (up 1%) move in opposite directions yet meet at the industry average of 77. Best Buy (down 1%), eBay (down 1%), Gap (unchanged), Walgreens (up 3%), and Wayfair (down 1%) all score 76.

With a score of 75, Apple (unchanged), Home Depot (down 1%), HP Store (down 5%), and Lowe’s (down 1%) finish just ahead of Overstock, which sinks 3% to 74.

At the bottom of the industry, GameStop sputters 3% to 73, while Groupon and Walmart falter 3% and 1%, respectively, to 72.

Specialty Retail: Nike sprints into first place
Customer satisfaction with specialty retail stores held steady with an ACSI score of 77.

Nike takes the top spot after gaining 1% to 81. Hobby Lobby (unchanged) and TJX’s HomeGoods (up 1%) share second at 80 each, just ahead of Bass Pro Shops (unchanged), PVH (up 1%), and L Brands (down 2%), each at 79.

L Brands’ score represents both Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret, which are now separate companies. This marks the first time in seven years that L Brands didn’t lead the industry.

The group of smaller specialty retail stores (down 1%) and three other retailers tie at 78: Famous Footwear (unchanged), Sephora (down 3%), and Ulta Beauty (down 1%). Discount Tire and O’Reilly Auto Parts are unchanged at the industry average of 77.

Eight retailers are locked at 76: Apple (down 1%), Bed Bath & Beyond (down 3%), Best Buy (unchanged), Foot Locker (down 1%), Gap (down 1%), Home Depot (up 1%), Menards (down 1%), Michaels (unchanged), and PetSmart (down 1%).

Premium Apparel enters the Index with an ACSI score of 75 after acquiring former Ascena-owned brands. The retailer is matched by Abercrombie & Fitch (down 3%), Ace Hardware (up 1%), Advance Auto Parts (up 1%), Dick’s Sporting Goods (down 1%), H&M (down 1%), Lowe’s (unchanged), Petco (down 1%), and Staples (unchanged).

American Eagle Outfitters tumbles 3% to 74, tying Williams-Sonoma, up 1%. AutoZone (down 4%), J.Crew (down 3%), Signet Jewelers (down 4%) all tumble to a score of 73. They’re joined by GameStop, up 1%. ODP, which includes Office Depot and OfficeMax, sits alone at the bottom of the category after falling 3% to 72.

Drug Stores: Satisfaction edges up
After three years of worsening customer satisfaction, the drugstore industry improves 1.3% to an ACSI score of 76.

Smaller drugstores tops the leaderboard, inching up 1% to 80. Next is CVS, down 1% to 76, followed by Kroger, which slips 1% to a score of 75.

Walgreens is unchanged at 74, just ahead of Albertsons Companies and Rite Aid, both up 1% to 73. Walmart sits alone in last place after sinking 3% to 71.

Consumer shipping: Satisfaction is worse than ever
Customer satisfaction with consumer shipping stumbles again, dropping 2.6% to an ACSI score of 74. This marks a new historical low for the industry.

FedEx stays in front despite plummeting 4% to 75. Customer satisfaction with UPS slides for a fourth straight year, slipping 1% to 74. The U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Express and Priority Mail tumbles 4% to 70.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail and Consumer Shipping Report 2021-2022 is based on interviews with 36,517 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between January 11, 2021, and December 20, 2021. Download the full report here.