ACSI Data Costco, H-E-B, and Publix Lead as Retailers Enjoy 60%+ Customer Satisfaction Surge

The Retail Trade sector is poised for a positive future, as the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2023-2024 reveals a 4% surge in overall customer satisfaction, reaching a score of 78.0 out of 100. In 2024, over 60% of retailers experience improvements in their individual ACSI scores. The favorable trend extends to gas stations, with consumer satisfaction rising by 15% to a score of 75, the highest level in over five years, driven by better prices at the pump.

Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI, notes that issues stemming from the pandemic, such as supply disruptions and uneven service quality, are diminishing across various sectors. Moderating inflation contributes to an improved value proposition, particularly for supermarkets and gas stations. The holiday season sees consumers responding positively to discounters and retailers excelling in sales, promotions, and enhanced experiences through private label offerings.

Online retailers maintain a steady ACSI score of 80, with Chewy leading the pack for the second consecutive year, achieving a score of 84. Despite a 1% decline, Amazon remains a benchmark in the online shopping experience. Costco, eBay, and HP Store tie for third place at 81, showcasing strong performances in e-commerce sales.

General merchandise retailers experience a 3% increase in customer satisfaction, reaching an ACSI score of 77. Macy’s and Costco lead the category with scores of 82, emphasizing better sales, promotions, and value offerings. Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, gains popularity, contributing significantly to its success.

Specialty retailers maintain an ACSI score of 79, with Tractor Supply Company, Ace Hardware, and Pet Supplies Plus leading the industry at 82. O’Reilly Auto Parts follows closely at 82, showing a 5% surge. Despite a 2% decline, American Eagle Outfitters, along with Menards and Apple Store, achieve a score of 81.

In the supermarket category, customer satisfaction increases by 4% to an ACSI score of 79. Costco, H-E-B, and Publix share the top spot at 85, dethroning Trader Joe’s. These leaders benefit from stronger value perceptions, better sales, and promotions, along with the popularity of private label brands. Walmart, despite a 4% improvement, finishes last with a score of 74.

Walmart stands out in the drugstore industry, securing first place with an 11% surge in satisfaction, alongside smaller drugstores, reaching a score of 82. The drugstore industry as a whole improves by 1% to an ACSI score of 77. Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS show stable scores, with Rite Aid gaining 1% to 76, Walgreens remaining unchanged at 75, and CVS dipping 1% to 74.

The ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2023-2024, based on interviews with 40,264 customers, evaluates customer satisfaction in six retail industries: online retailers, general merchandise retailers, specialty retailers, drugstores, supermarkets, and gas stations, along with consumer shipping and the U.S. Postal Service.

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