Retail sector satisfaction slips, but ACSI finds many bright spots

ANN ARBOR–The latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index review of the retail trade sector shows that satisfaction has slipped 0.5 percent over the past year to a level of 74.7 out of 100.

Convenience moved to the forefront, as scores were high for mobile apps and in-store pickup metrics (accuracy, process, and speed) across the sector, according to the ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping study, 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 improved: 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 emeritus research director 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.”

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

Chewy debuted 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 was up 8% to 84 after two years of declines to an all-time low last year.

Etsy (down 2%) and Gap (up 5%) moved in opposite directions and meet at 80, while six retailers finished 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 was unchanged, with Best Buy (up 3%), and Newegg (up 1%) tied at 78, followed by Dell (down 1%), Home Depot (up 3%), and Nike (down 1%), each at 77.

eBay (unchanged) was 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%) finished ahead of Groupon (up 3%) and Staples (down 4%) at 74. Walmart (up 1%) sat at 73.

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

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

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

Apple Store (up 7%), Hobby Lobby (up 1%), and Ulta Beauty (up 4%) scored 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 was 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%) were 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, was matched by AutoZone, which moved up 3%. GameStop sat at the bottom of the industry despite improving 1% to 74.

For the second straight year, customer satisfaction with general merchandise retailers was 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%, were next with scores of 81 and 80, respectively.

Three retailers tied 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%) scored 73 apiece, while Dollar Tree faltered 4% to 71. Dollar General and Walmart shared last place at 70, stumbling 3% and 1%, respectively.

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

The group of smaller drugstores led 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.

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

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

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

Southeastern Grocers remained 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 outpaced last-place Walmart, which improved 1% to 71.

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

Gas stations have been trending downward for five years and faltered 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 or visit

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