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Survey: Macy’s, Kohl’s and Nordstrom rated most trustworthy with consumer data

Macy’s is the large, multi-brand retailer with the best reputation for using customer data in personalized marketing.

Macy’s topped a list of 12 large, multi-brand retailers in data trustworthiness.

Macy’s took the top spot as the large, multi-brand retailer that respondents trust most in sharing their personal data, according to a survey of U.S. consumers aged 18-49 with household incomes above $75,000 from Luxury Institute and DataLucent. The survey measured the level of trust that digital consumers have in licensing their digital platform data (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and other personal data, to mass, premium and luxury brands in exchange for rewards and benefits.

The “Data Trust Index” (DTI) showed that Kohl's was rated very close to Macy's, while Nordstrom came in a distant third. In alphabetical order, the 12 retailers ranked in the index were Belk, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Dillard's, Kohl's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, TJX Companies (HomeGoods, Marshalls, TJMaxx), and Ulta.

Respondents reported that YouTube (82%), Google (79%), Facebook (78%), Amazon (76%), and Instagram (75%) were the digital platforms they most commonly used on a regular basis. On the core question of the survey: 83% of all respondents, including 89% male and 78% female, are willing to license their digital platform data, under their control, to brands they trust to use to serve their needs and the needs of other consumers, in a personalized way.

Men are more willing than women to trust Macy's and Kohl's with their data, while Nordstrom is nearly equally trusted by men and women who agree to license their data to the brand. Macy's and Kohl's, both mass brands, are evenly trusted across age and income categories, while upscale brand Nordstrom is trusted by more affluent consumers.

When asked to more broadly name their favorite overall retailers, a recent survey from Smarty indicates that Amazon (51%), Walmart (48%), and Target (37%), took the top three spots overall and in several key categories: best prices, best price-matching programs, best return policies and best overall shopping experiences.

Rounding out the top five for best overall shopping experience in the Smarty survey were The Home Depot (20%), Costco (20%), and Macy’s (19%). The Smarty survey also noted that consumers are always searching for great value, and in 2021 they are looking to retailers that kept their promises during the pandemic.

"We were surprised that the luxury multi-brand retailers scored lowest versus more mainstream retailers," said Milton Pedraza, Luxury Institute CEO and DataLucent chairman. "It is clear the luxury multi-brand retailers need to do far more to gain the trust of younger, affluent consumers. Brands that can license their customers' social and digital platform data can make far better predictions and recommendations across multiple categories that increase sales and reduce wastage and returns."

Luxury Institute and DataLucent will publish the top three brands in each category, as rated by consumers, but does not make public their exact DTI scores, or the scores of the other brands rated. The DTI U.S. survey is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,008 consumers ages 18-49, with a minimum income of $75,000 (total sample average income of $200,000), with 54% male and 48% female participation.

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