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Which Retailers Rank High for Customer Satisfaction Ahead of the Holiday Season?

ACSI: Retailers are well prepared to satisfy customers’ preference for early holiday shopping
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
The American Customer Satisfaction Index's Retail Holiday Preview
The American Customer Satisfaction Index's Retail Holiday Preview: Industry Leaders

According to a National Retail Federation survey conducted last month, 39% of shoppers said that they plan to start shopping earlier than they typically do this holiday season. As consumers prepare to be more intentional with their purchases amid inflation, some retailers, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) Retail Holiday Preview, appear particularly well positioned to tackle this challenge.

“Customer satisfaction will be even more important as retailers compete for the more carefully allocated holiday purchases of price-sensitive consumers,” said Forrest Morgeson, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ACSI. “Retailers that offer sales and promotions early this year may earn more dollars from consumers who are looking to spread out their holiday spending. Whichever brands can meet the needs of their customers in this uncertain economy will have superior customer satisfaction this holiday season.”

[Read more: "4 Things to Know About Shoppers’ Holiday Spending Plans"]

Year to date, customer satisfaction with general merchandise retailers scores 77 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, outpacing last year’s performance. Discounting appears to be driving that trend. Costco Wholesale Corp. and Target are among the companies leading general merchandise retailers, with scores of 82 and 81, respectively. 

Target unveiled some of its plans for the holidays back in September. The retailer reported that it’s offering thousands of gifts under $25 and merchandising seasonal food and beverage items starting at $2.

In addition to holding its savings event Target Circle Week Oct. 1-7 , Target is also bringing back its Deal of the Day program with discounts for Target Circle members from Oct. 1 through Dec. 24.  

[Read more: “How Target Is Aiming to Win Thanksgiving”]

ACSI also noted that Target has benefited from consumers’ deviation from discretionary shopping to spending more on essentials like personal care and household products. This strategy has also paid dividends for Costco, where membership has risen thanks in large part to cheap gas and strong grocery sales, strengthening the retailer’s ACSI score.

Meanwhile, as online retailers prepare for a busy fourth quarter, the industry maintains its 2023 ACSI score of 80. At an ACSI score of 83, Amazon and Chewy rank the highest for customer satisfaction among all retailers going into the holiday season. 

Amazon held its biggest Prime Day event ever in October, with Prime members purchasing more than 375 million items worldwide. Amazon continues to tout its online Holiday Shop and curated picks from influencers like Olivia Culpo and podcasters Claudia and Margo Oshry.

The company also recently expanded its operations and logistics networking by opening two new state-of-the-art delivery stations in Connecticut ahead of the busy holiday season. Delivery stations play a pivotal role in Amazon’s logistics network, serving as the last stop before packages arrive at customers’ doorsteps. 

With a score of 81, Costco is another top performer for share of online retailing. Costco’s e-commerce sales for October rose 3.7%. 

The ACSI Retail Holiday Preview is based on interviews with 22,541 customers from January 2023 to September 2023. 

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 and Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2. 

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