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J.D. Power: Ace Hardware tops in customer satisfaction

Ace Hardware exterior
Customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers is at a record high, according to J.D. Power.

Despite rising prices and limited stock, customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers has never been higher.

Overall customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers is 849 (on a 1,000-point scale), up a significant 22 points from the 2021 study, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study. Scores improved for all retailers.  

Ace Hardware ranks highest in customer satisfaction among home improvement retailers for the 15th time in 16 years, with a score of 869. (On Wednesday, Ace reported record first-quarter revenues of $2.2 billion, up 8.9% from the year-ago period, percent, and net income of $119.8 million, an increase of $14.4 million from last year.) Lowe’s (849) and Menard's (849) rank second in a tie.

“Despite the countless challenges home improvement retailers have faced during the past two years, we’re seeing all-time high levels of customer satisfaction,” said Christina Cooley, director of the home and retail intelligence practice at J.D. Power. “Peeling back the layers to better understand this phenomenon, the stand-out performers in this year’s study are differentiating themselves from the competition and driving scores higher by nailing down the formula for helpful staff and great customer service.”

Following are some key findings of the 2022 study.

  • Staff and service drive largest spread in scores: While all retailers evaluated in the study score within a few points of one another on price satisfaction, the top-performing retailers set themselves apart by outperforming on staff and service metrics—with the gap from top to bottom being 60 points. Customers note product knowledge, courtesy of sales staff and availability of staff as key drivers of strong performance.
  • Tick tock, tick tock: The longer a customer waits to be approached by a sales associate, the lower the satisfaction. The average wait has increased to 6.1 minutes in 2022 from 5.6 minutes in 2021. The highest-performing retailers have established a best-in-class benchmark of assisting customers in less than five minutes.
  • Big-box stores show significant improvement: Ace Hardware continues its long streak of highest-ranked performance in the home improvement retailer category, but the big box stores—Lowe’s and Home Depot—see the biggest year-over-year gains in customer satisfaction.

The 2022 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retailers by examining five factors (in alphabetical order): in-store experience; merchandise; online experience; price; and staff and service. The study is based on responses from 2,114 customers who purchased home improvement-related products from a home improvement retailer within the previous 12 months. The study was fielded from December 2021 through February 2022.

For more information about the U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study, click here.

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