A new study shows that online retailing, travel, brokerage and auctions are stronger in terms of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and future economic growth than virtually any other sector of the economy.
And among Web retailers, Amazon.com
and bookseller Barnes&Noble.com
are said to be “leading a performance surge.”
The e-commerce results are part of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) study by the University of Michigan and ForeSee Results, an online customer satisfaction management firm. The overall e-commerce score of 77.6 is a 4.7-point improvement over last year.
The ACSI report includes scores for four categories of e-commerce: online retail, travel, online brokerage, and auction/reverse auction. The e-retail category, with a score of 83 on the 100-point scale, was up significantly over last year (from 77).
Online travel services are a strong performer, with an average score of 77 and tightly clustered competition among Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and smaller players.
The auction/reverse auction category is dominated by eBay, which registered an 82 far ahead of its closest measured rival, Priceline.com, which earned only a 71. Online brokerage services overall earned a score of 73.
“Brick-and-mortar retail is doing fine, but lags way behind the trajectory of e-retail,” said Larry Freed, an expert on online customer satisfaction and CEO of ForeSee Results.
The e-retail sector scores above 90 on perceived quality, a score that makes it an economy-wide standard-setter, Freed said. “In today’s tough economy, e-commerce has strong potential to be a bright spot that can play an important role in fueling a recovery,” he added.
The ACSI is released quarterly by the University of Michigan, measuring a different set of industries each quarter such that each industry is measured once per year.