Survey Suggests Nondurable Manufacturers Need to Win Back Consumer Satisfaction
Whether they make corn flakes, IPAs or hand soap, manufacturers of most nondurable goods saw consumer satisfaction decline during the pandemic. The problem likely stems from supply chain disruptions their customers experienced in 2020.
Overall, consumer satisfaction with the sector shrank 1.5% to a score of 79.2 (out of 100), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI®) “Nondurable Products Report 2019-2020.” ACSI said apparel was the only category to see its rating improve. Manufacturers of food products, beer, soft drinks, personal care and cleaning products, and athletic shoes all experienced “significant customer satisfaction declines,” according to ACSI.
“While consumers still view the nondurables industries more favorably than others, the sector’s grip over the index isn’t as tight as it once was,” said David VanAmburg, ACSI managing director. “Shopping patterns shifted almost overnight as customers stocked pantries during the early stages of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak. The resulting supply chain issues and shortages led food processors and beverage makers alike to trim their product offerings and focus on core products to meet unprecedented demand. Unfortunately, they didn’t do enough to balance customer expectations.”
Although none scored as well as they have in past surveys, these were the top-scored companies in each category:
- Food manufacturing — Quaker
- Soft drinks — Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo (tie)
- Breweries — Anheuser-Busch InBev
- Athletic shoes — Nike
- Cleaning products — Clorox
“Consumer demand for disinfectants and bleach has exploded, with Clorox seeing five-fold spikes for some of its products in March 2020,” ACSI noted. However, even Clorox’s rating dipped a bit with consumers during the pandemic.
Apparel was the one category to buck the downward trend during 2020. “The smaller clothing makers that represent the bulk of the category deserve the lion’s share of the credit,” ACSI stated. “Producing casual clothes, sportswear, jeans and basic items such as underwear and socks under countless labels like Fruit of the Loom, Victoria’s Secret and Wrangler, the group of smaller clothing companies [rose] 3% to an ACSI score of 79.”
ACSI surveyed 13,168 consumers at random between October 2019 and September 2020. The full results can be downloaded here.