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Costco, H-E-B, Publix tops in customer satisfaction

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The retail industry is doing better at satisfying customers.

Overall customer satisfaction in the retail sector is on the rise.

Customer satisfaction rose 4% to a score of 78.0 (out of 100), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2023-2024, with the individual scores of more than 60% of retailers up over last year.

Costco, H-E-B and Publix topped the rankings, with the highest score (85) across the supermarket sector and all six retail sectors reviewed. 


 Satisfaction among supermarkets skyrocketed 4% to an ACSI score of 79 as food inflation slowed and consumers perceived stronger value through better sales and promotions.

Costco (up 4%), H-E-B (up 5%), and Publix (up 4%) shared a three-way tie atop the industry at 85, upending Trader Joe’s multiyear winning streak. The former leader is next with a steady ACSI score of 84.

Publix sets the standard across much of the in-store experience, including staff courtesy and store cleanliness and layout, while Costco and H-E-B win on value. All three benefit greatly from the popularity of their private label brands.

Sam’s Club (Walmart) saw its score climb 5% to 83. Meijer and ShopRite experienced the biggest gains, each improving 7% to 80. Meanwhile, Walmart, despite improving 4%, finished last with an ACSI score of 74.

General Merchandise Retailers

Customer satisfaction with general merchandise retailers rose 3% to an ACSI score of 77. Macy’s (up 4%) and Costco (unchanged) topped the ranking, with ACSI scores of 82. The former helps consumers get more bang for their buck with better sales and promotions and greater value, while the latter can thank its private label, Kirklands, offerings for much of its success, the study said.

Costco’s Kirkland Signature has become one of the main reasons people go to the store these days, ACSI noted. There are even TikTok and Instagram accounts dedicated to identifying the best of these products.

Sam’s Club was unchanged at 81 to match Target (up 4%), with the membership warehouse retailer also seeing a gravitational pull toward its private label, Member’s Mark, which now accounts for 30% of its total sales. .

BJ’s Wholesale Club, unchanged at 80, also sits toward the top of the industry too, while Belk (79) and Big Lots (78) experience the largest gains, climbing 5% and 7%, respectively.

Walmart (up 4% to 73) and Dollar General (up 3% to 72) finished at the bottom despite moderate year-over-year gains.


Customer satisfaction with online retailers remains unchanged from the prior year at an ACSI score of 80. Despite slipping 1% year-over-year, Chewy earned a second straight top rating among online retailers with a score of 84. The online pet supply store received top marks for both quality and value, as well as strong ratings for multichannel customer support.

Meanwhile, second place Amazon, down 1% to 83, earned top marks for ease of navigation and the checkout process. Costco (up 3%), eBay (up 7%), and HP Store (up 7%) tied for third at 81. 

Nike (up 4%), Nordstrom (up 1%), and Etsy (unchanged) all finished with an industry average score of 80; while Groupon, Staples, and Walgreens each experience a substantial 7% satisfaction increase. Despite the improvement, Walgreens’ score of 74 is the lowest mark in the online retail vertical.

Specialty Retailers  

Customer satisfaction with specialty retailers remained the same at an ACSI score of 79. There’s a logjam, however, at the top of the industry.

ACSI newcomer Tractor Supply Company and Ace Hardware (up 3%) outperformed fellow hardware and home improvement stores at 82. Pet Supplies Plus debuted with the same score thanks to its value proposition and best-in-class sales and promotions.

O’Reilly Auto Parts also had a score of 82 following a 5% surge at a time when rising used car prices are prompting drivers to keep their cars longer.

American Eagle Outfitters (down 2%), Menards (up 1%), and Apple Store (unchanged) each score 81. Six brands sit at 80: Home Depot (up 3%), Hobby Lobby (down 1%), Bath & Body Works (down 2%), Sephora (up 3%), Ulta Beauty (down 1%) and PetSmart (unchanged).

ODP (Office Depot, OfficeMax) dropped 1% to 75, yet still outperformed last place GameStop, unchanged at 74.

Drug Stores

Unlike its performance among general merchandise retailers or supermarkets, Walmart’s pharmacy business surged 11%, putting the retail giant in first place along with the smaller drugstores (up 3%) at 82. Walmart’s massive move boosted the drugstore industry rating overall 1% to an ACSI score of 77.

Walmart’s satisfaction gain is supported by value and strong ratings for key factors like merchandise variety and pharmacy services.

There is little differentiation in customer satisfaction among standalone chains Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS, with scores nearly stable compared to a year ago. Rite Aid improved 1% to 76, Walgreens is unchanged at 75, and CVS dipped 1% to 74.

Gas Stations

Better prices at the pump helped catapult overall customer satisfaction with gas stations 15% to a score of 75 — the vertical’s highest level in more than five years.


The ACSI Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2023-2024 is based on interviews with 40,264 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email from January 2023 to December 2023. This study scores 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.

The ACSI has been a national economic indicator for over 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with more than 400 companies in approximately 40 industries and 10 economic sectors Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, scores are based on data from interviews with approximately 200,000 customers annually. 

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