Customer satisfaction—an economic indicator pegged to customer evaluations of goods and services purchased in the U.S.—has been tracking gradually upward, more or less with the pace of economy recovery, according to data released this week by ACSI LLC, producer of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Nationwide, the ACSI edged up 0.1%, to 75.8 on a scale of 100, for the fourth quarter of 2011, in keeping with the yearlong uptick in 2011 of 0.7%. Gross domestic product grew by 2.8% in Q4, and spending increased by 2%—figures that point to a 2.8% spending increase in the first quarter of 2012.
Most retail sectors showed improvement in 2011, although index scores for drug stores—identified by ACSI as “health and personal care stores”—slipped slightly for the second year in a row, down 1.3% to 76. (The specialty retail category, by contrast, scored 79 in 2011, while gasoline stations scored 74.)
It turns out that, for 2011, smaller drug stores, indentified in
ACSI scoring as “all others,” generated notably more customer satisfaction, with a score of 82 (a 1% increase), than the big chains, which scored as follows:
- Walgreen (NYSE:WAG): 75 (a 3% drop from 2010)
- Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD): 75 (unchanged from 2010)
- CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS): 73 (a 1% drop from 2010, and seven-year low).