Specialty Retailers Give Online Merchants a Run for Their Money as Mobile Apps and In-Store Pickup Flourish Across the Sector, ACSI Data Show

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#cx–While overall customer satisfaction with the Retail Trade sector slips 0.5% to a score of 74.7 (out of 100), that doesn’t tell the whole story.


Convenience moves to the forefront, as scores are high for mobile apps and in-store pickup metrics (accuracy, process, and speed) across the sector, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI®) Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2022-2023 — an indication that retailers are learning to better execute in these areas coming out of the pandemic.

This study includes six retail industries — online retailers, general merchandise retailers, specialty retailers, drugstores, supermarkets, and gas stations — as well as consumer shipping and the U.S. Postal Service. Of those retail industries, two improve: specialty retailers and online retailers.

“While online retailers still lead overall for shopper satisfaction, specialty retailers, with their more targeted product mixes, are gaining significant ground,” said Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI. “All told, roughly half of the measured specialty chains post impressive ACSI gains of 4% or more, without any decliners. Compared to other traditional retailers, specialty stores have managed to reduce their supply chain challenges, garnering top marks from customers for merchandise availability and selection.”

Chewy tops online retailers — and the Index — with impressive debut

Customer satisfaction with online retailers improves 4% to an ACSI score of 80.

Chewy debuts with an ACSI score of 85, placing it atop not just online retailers but the Index as a whole. Amazon turns things around and moves into second place. The company’s score is up 8% to 84 after two years of declines to an all-time low last year.

Etsy (down 2%) and Gap (up 5%) move in opposite directions and meet at 80, while six retailers finish with 79: Costco (unchanged), Kohl’s (up 1%), Macy’s (down 1%), Nordstrom (down 2%), Target (up 1%), and Wayfair (up 4%).

The group of smaller sites (unchanged), Best Buy (up 3%), and Newegg (up 1%) tie at 78, followed by Dell (down 1%), Home Depot (up 3%), and Nike (down 1%), each at 77.

eBay (unchanged) is one of four retailers to score 76, including HP Store (up 1%), Lowe’s (up 1%), and Overstock (up 3%). With scores of 75, Apple Store (unchanged) and GameStop (up 3%) finish ahead of Groupon (up 3%) and Staples (down 4%) at 74. Walmart (up 1%) sits at 73.

Walgreens is last after plummeting 9% to an ACSI score of 69.

American Eagle and TJX’s HomeGoods stand out among specialty retailers

Customer satisfaction with specialty retailers rises 3% to an ACSI score of 79.

American Eagle Outfitters and TJX (HomeGoods) share first place at 83 after surging 12% and 4%, respectively. Bath & Body Works, formerly part of L Brands, comes in second with a first-time score of 82.

Apple Store (up 7%), Hobby Lobby (up 1%), and Ulta Beauty (up 4%) score 81 apiece, outperforming Ace Hardware (up 7%), Bass Pro Shops (up 1%), Gap (up 5%), Menards (up 5%), and PetSmart (up 5%), each at 80.

The group of smaller specialty retailers (up 1%) and three other retailers — Abercrombie & Fitch (up 5%), Best Buy (up 4%), and Williams-Sonoma (up 7%) — tie at 79. Five retailers score 78: Bed Bath & Beyond (up 3%), Home Depot (up 3%), Lowe’s (up 4%), O’Reilly Auto Parts (up 1%), and Sephora (unchanged).

Advance Auto Parts (up 3%), Dick’s Sporting Goods (up 3%), Foot Locker (up 1%), Michaels (up 1%), and Signet Jewelers (up 5%) are locked at 77. These chains are followed closely by ODP — which includes Office Depot and OfficeMax — and Petco, up 6% and 1%, respectively, to 76.

Staples, unchanged at 75, is matched by AutoZone, which moves up 3%. GameStop sits at the bottom of the industry despite improving 1% to 74.

Wholesale warehouse clubs dominate general merchandise retailers

For the second straight year, customer satisfaction with general merchandise retailers is stable at an ACSI score of 75.

The wholesale warehouse clubs set the bar, taking the top three slots for customer satisfaction, with Costco, up 1% to 82, leading the way. Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club, both surging 4%, are next with scores of 81 and 80, respectively.

Three retailers tie at 79 — Kohl’s (up 1%), Macy’s (up 4%), and Nordstrom (unchanged) — just ahead of Target, steady at 78. TJX — which includes Marshalls and TJ Maxx — is stable at 77, matching the group of smaller general merchandise retailers, which improves 3%.

Among the low-end performers, Big Lots (up 1%) and Fred Meyer (up 3%) score 73 apiece, while Dollar Tree falters 4% to 71. Dollar General and Walmart share last place at 70, stumbling 3% and 1%, respectively.

Drugstores see stable customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction with drugstores is unchanged at an ACSI score of 76.

The group of smaller drugstores lead the way again with a steady mark of 80. Kroger is second, up 1% to 76, followed by a three-way tie at 75: CVS (down 1%), Rite Aid (up 3%), and Walgreens (up 1%).

Walmart moves out of the cellar after rising 4% to 74, replaced in last place by Albertsons Companies, unchanged at 73.

Trader Joe’s maintains lead among supermarkets

The supermarket industry remains stable with an ACSI score of 76.

Despite slipping 1%, Trader Joe’s still tops all supermarkets at 84. Costco (up 1%) and Publix (up 2%) move into a second-place tie at 82, ahead of H-E-B, which dips 1% to 81.

Aldi and Wegmans both slide 1% to 80, while four grocers score 79: BJ’s Wholesale Club (up 1%), Sam’s Club (unchanged), Target (up 3%), and Whole Foods (up 4%).

Southeastern Grocers remains near the bottom of the industry after dropping 1% to 74, tying with Albertsons Companies (up 4%) and Ahold Delhaize (down 3%). Giant Eagle falls 4% to 73, yet still outpaces last-place Walmart, which improves 1% to 71.

Satisfaction with consumer shipping is up across the board, while gas stations sink to an all-time low

Satisfaction with consumer shipping — up 4% overall to an ACSI score of 77 — improves across the board. UPS leads the way after surging 5% to 78, while FedEx inches up 1% to 76. The U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Express and Priority Mail finishes last despite increasing 1% to 71.

Gas stations have been trending downward for five years and falter 4% to an all-time low score of 65, just as gas prices hit record levels during 2022. Overall, the decline for gas stations puts downward pressure on the Retail sector’s ACSI score.

The ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2022-2023 is based on interviews with 35,685 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between January 2022 and December 2022. Download the full study and follow the ACSI on LinkedIn and Twitter at @theACSI.

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the data and information in this release without the express prior written consent of ACSI LLC.

About the ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) has been a national economic indicator for over 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various services of federal and local government agencies. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 500,000 customers annually. For more information, visit www.theacsi.org.

ACSI and its logo are Registered Marks of American Customer Satisfaction Index LLC.

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