retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The 2020-2021 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Retail and Consumer Shipping Report is out, saying that " while much of the Retail sector anticipates a turnaround in 2021, customer satisfaction is not heading in the right direction.  Overall, the Retail sector declines 2.3% to a score of 75.5 (out of 100)."

Some excerpts:

•  "After four years of near-stable customer satisfaction, the supermarket industry plunges 2.6% to 76, with 17 of 20 major grocers posting lower scores year over year.

"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%).

"The remaining top-tier performer from 2019, Aldi, slips 4% to tie with a stable Sam’s Club at 80.

"At the low end of the industry, a group of big decliners languish further behind the industry average than they did in 2019. Southeastern Grocers slides 4% to 73, while Giant Eagle plummets 5% to 72.

"Albertsons Companies also shows a steep ACSI drop, losing 5% to 71, tying for last place with Walmart, which declines 3%."

•  "For 2020, online retail loses the most ground among all retail categories, tumbling 3.7% to an ACSI score of 78.

"Nordstrom captures the industry lead despite retreating 1% to 81. In second place, Costco (down 1%), Etsy (down 2%), and Newegg (down 1%) are all deadlocked at 80. Former industry leader Amazon tumbles 5% to an all-time low score of 79.

"With a stable score of 78, Target is the only e-commerce retailer to buck the downward ACSI trend. Most of the industry scores below the average of 78. Macy’s and Wayfair both tumble 4% to scores of 77, tied with eBay (down 3%)."

•  "Following two years of customer satisfaction stability, the department and discount store industry retreats 1.3% to an ACSI score of 75. While two companies eke out small gains, 13 of 19 major store chains suffer customer satisfaction declines year over year.

"Costco remains in first place for a fifth straight year, despite declining 2% to a score of 81. Its lead is also shrinking."

•  "For a third year, customer satisfaction with the health and personal care (drug) store industry weakens, dropping 1.3% to an ACSI score of 75.

"The group of smaller drug stores remains the industry leader, albeit with a lower score, down 4% to 79. CVS is next, steady at 77 for the third straight year, followed by Kroger, which slides 3% to a score of 76.

"Walgreens stays below the industry average, inching back 1% to 74. Walmart is next, slipping 1% to 73. Rite Aid shares the bottom of the industry with Albertsons Companies, both tumbling 4% to 72."

KC's View:

While I think declining customer satisfaction always has to be a concern, I also believe that 2020 was just an weird year - with enormous demands on businesses, escalating expectations from shoppers, and a chaotic, surreal environment in which to conduct commerce - that it is important not to internalize these ratings too much. Just redouble efforts to serve shoppers, and keep moving forward. Surreality can't last forever. (Hopefully.)