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Levi’s, Sephora, Nike, Amazon, CVS among leaders in loyalty

Dollar Tree operated 16,419 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces as of April 29, 2023.
Dollar Tree is a "loyalty juggernaut" in the dollar discount category.

A select number of brands meet or exceed consumers’ expectations to such an extent that they are able convert market-share and loyalty into category and market dominance. 

According Brand Keys' 27th annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) assessments, these brands are “loyalty juggernauts” —  brands of such overwhelming economic force that their ability to meet expectations makes them far more powerful than universal awareness alone, explained Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff. Among the brands that made the list are Levi Strauss (apparel), Nike (athletic shoes), Walmart (discount) and CVS (pharmacy.)  A more complete list is at end of article.

The model applies to all sectors and categories where brands generate high levels of consumer engagement and loyalty by better meeting consumers’ expectations. Doing that can turn a brand into a devastating economic force, according to Brand Keys. 

The loyalty paradigm has changed dramatically since the ‘Cola Wars’ of the ’70s, noted Passifoff. 

“Today’s loyalty bottom-line comes down to consumers’ deepest expectations, and how they feel which brand measures up best," he said. “Customer behavior and brand loyalty are now almost entirely governed by emotional values related to expectations, and expectations grow constantly.This year’s results validate customer expectations as the most accurate and predictive loyalty indicators, proving conclusively that better addressing consumer expectations turn everyday-brands into ‘loyalty juggernauts.’ ”

This year, “loyalty juggernauts include the following brands, with percentages indicating their ability to meet expectations consumers hold for the Ideal (100%) in their category:

•Apparel: Levi Strauss (93%)

•Athletic Shoes: Nike (89%)

•Department Stores: T.J. Maxx (79%)

•Discount: Walmart (82%)

•Dollar Discount: Dollar Tree (90%)

•Home Repair: Home Depot (90%)

•Natural Markets: Trader Joe’s (91%)

•On-line Payments: PayPal (94%)

•On-Line Shoes: Zappos (90%)

•On-Line: Amazon (96%)

•Pharmacy: CVS (88%)

•Price Clubs: Costco (89%)

•Shipping: UPS (89%)

•Sporting Goods: Dick’s (92%)

For the 2024 CLEI survey, 95,607 consumers, 16 to 65 years of age, from the nine US Census Regions, self-selected categories in which they are consumers and assessed brands for which they are customers via an independently validated research methodology, a combination of psychological inquiry and statistical analyses, with a test/re-test reliability of 0.93 and results generalizable at the 95% confidence level.

This year, Brand Keys examined 1,200 brands in 114 categories to identify four category-specific path-to-purchase behavioral loyalty drivers, each driver’s component values and their percent-contribution to engagement, loyalty, and profitability (assessments that correlate with positive consumer behavior in the marketplace at the 0.80+ level).

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