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New Survey: Which Brands Do Customers Love Most?

A new study was released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) that reveals which brands rank the highest with respect to customer satisfaction. The survey has become particularly influential because of its scope and rigor; more than 70,000 customers are queried about 230 companies, 43 industries, 10 different sectors of the global economy and  more than 100 services that include both public and private programs.

The study, “The Non-Durable Product Report 2013,” includes separate treatments of apparel and footwear. With regards to apparel, the industry as a whole has suffered from the perspective of customer satisfaction, registering a grade of 79, the lowest in the last 15 years. Prices, however, have outperformed customer satisfaction, rising 1.8%, just ahead of the Customer Price Index.

The highest ranking brand was Levi Strauss which scored an 82. VF scored an 81 (a 1% dip from last year). Hanesbrands also scored an 82 to tie for the top spot, with Jones Group tight on its heels.

Jones Group had disappointed customers in the last three years, scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of ACSI rankings. Of all the brands, they experienced the biggest turnaround in the last year’s time.

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Now on to footwear. The industry as a whole improved its satisfaction of customers, raising its approval rating 1.9% to a score of 81. The best performing brands were Skechers and New Balance, both of which scored 83, with Adidas and Nike close behind in the tally.

The success story of the year is Adidas, which rebounded powerfully by 4% to a respectable score of 81. Nike has continued to fall behind, apparently an indication of how difficult it is for such a massive brand to satisfy such a diverse constituency of customers.

The big loser this year, though, at least judged by ASCI benchmarks, is Reebok, which is owned by Adidas. Customers have persistently complained about the quality of the brand’s products. In response to a weak reception of its newest lines, Adidas is considering reconfiguring Reebok’s core focus, making it into a fitness brand rather than a athletic one.

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ACSI uses a “cause-and-effect” econometric model which assesses customer reports on product quality, complaints and brand loyalty. The research firm then correlates all this data with the “survey-measured input of customer expectations,” and then interprets it against the backdrop of the pertinent industry’s overall macroeconomic conditions.

Note: the above graphs appear in the ACSI Non-Durable Products Report 2013.