After 2 years of improvement, customer satisfaction with apparel companies has fallen in 2011, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index for apparel companies in November 2011 dropped 3.6% year-over-year, down from 83 to 80 on ACSI’s 100-point scale. A 4.8% downturn for the aggregate of the smaller companies studied was responsible for the majority of the decline, although just one of the 5 largest manufacturers, Hanesbrands, experienced an increase, rising 1.2% from a score of 81 to 82. V.F. Corporation retained the industry lead, despite registering a 2.4% drop to a score of 83, while at the bottom of the industry, Jones Group fell 2.5% to 79 to tie Liz Claiborne (unchanged) and the aggregate of smaller brands. Satisfaction with Jones has fallen each of the past 3 years after reaching an all-time high of 84 in 2008.
The overall ACSI index was stuck in neutral for Q3 2011, unchanged at 75.7.
Food Satisfaction Unchanged
The ACSI score for food products as a category remains unchanged from 2010 at 81, although the results for individual companies are mixed. H.J. Heinz inched up 1.1% to a score of 89, not only making it the industry leader for the 12th straight year, but also the highest-scoring company among all studied. Mars was next with a score of 87, up 2.4% from 85 in November 2010, with Nestle, Hershey, and Quaker (PepsiCo) all following at 84, although the latter 2 both experienced drops of 2.3% while Nestle remained unchanged.
Tyson (up 2.6% to 79) and Kraft (up 2.5% to 83) experienced the largest percentage increases of the category, while Campbell Soup (down 3.7% to 79) and Sara Lee (down 3.5% to 82) suffered the largest percentage decreases.
Pet Food Slips
Customer satisfaction with pet food slipped for a second straight year, down 1.2% to an ACSI score of 82. The decline was driven by sharp drops for Mars Petcare (down 5.9% to a score of 80) and the aggregate of smaller brands (down 3.5% to 82). Hill’s Pet Nutrition, though, improved 2.4% to take the industry lead at 84 ahead of Del Monte, last year’s leader, which fell 1.2% to the industry average.
Athletic Shoes Buck Trend
As a group, makers of athletic footwear showed the only gain in customer satisfaction among the four industries reported on in November. The industry’s ACSI score edged up 1.3% from 80 to 81, although there was little differentiation to be found between the individual companies. The aggregate of smaller brands such as New Balance and Skechers inched ahead with a 1.3% gain to 81, while the largest players in the category – Adidas and Nike – were deadlocked with scores of 80 after a 2.4% drop for Adidas.
About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, with all measures reported using a scale of 0 to 100.