According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index's (ACSI) annual E-Commerce Report, produced in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, customer satisfaction with e-commerce Web sites continues to rise, gaining 1.2 percent to 81.1 on the ACSI's 100-point scale.
The improvement in the e-commerce sector, which comprises the online retail, brokerage, and travel categories, is driven in part by the strong performance of the aggregate of smaller e-retailers and e-brokerages. Online retail increased 1.2 percent to an ACSI score of 82, outperforming the brick-and-mortar retail trade sector (76.6) by a wide margin. Amazon continued to the lead the industry (and tops all measured e-commerce companies in this month's Index) despite a 1 percent drop to 85.
Customer satisfaction with online brokerage increased 2.6 percent to 86, led by a surge in the "all others" category (plus 4 percent to 78), which includes a range of online brokerages from large financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch to smaller brokerages like Scottrade and Sharebuilder. Fidelity, which fell 2 percent to 78, shares the top spot in the category. Researchers said that the online travel industry continues to be anyone's game, as only two points separate all measured companies. Customer satisfaction with online travel fell 2.6 percent to 76, the largest decline of all measured categories. Expedia and Orbitz and the "all others" category led e-travel with a score of 76. Priceline remains at the bottom of the group, falling 3 percent to 74. “E-commerce is maturing, and even the smaller companies are improving, keeping up with or sometimes surpassing larger, more established companies," said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, in a statement. "The e-commerce landscape changes faster than more traditional industries, and the rules can be rewritten by new players or new technologies, like mobile. Disruption will always be a part of e-commerce, but innovation will likely keep the sector near the top in customer satisfaction."