ForeSee Online Holiday Customer Satisfaction Study: Apple Store Online drops to four-year low

Internet-retail giant Amazon remains at the head of the class, according to the annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index released today by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee. The eighth annual report—based on more than 24,000 customer surveys collected during the prime holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas—expands from measuring satisfaction with 40 top retailers to 100 this year. Aggregate customer satisfaction stagnates, scoring 78 on a 100-point scale. Though satisfaction with top retailers remains the same, a few big-name retailers suffered declines. Apple’s online retail store slides four percent to 80, slipping from a tie for second place and out of the top five entirely, registering its lowest score in four years. PC competitor also falls four percent to 77 and below the Index average. But the biggest year-over-year decline goes to, with a six percent decline to 78.

“This year, we’re seeing that even some of the largest companies in the country are at risk if they lose sight of customer satisfaction,” said Larry Freed, ForeSee president and CEO, in the press release. “Satisfaction with the customer experience, when measured correctly, is the most important predictor of future success, and while Amazon clearly gets it, Apple stumbles from their usual focus on the customer experience. Dell and JC Penney seem to be struggling to find their way, which could make them extremely vulnerable to competitors.”

Foresee  Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index

Meanwhile, continues to set the standard for customer satisfaction, matching the record high of 88 it set last year in the holiday edition of the Index. Amazon has had the highest scores in the Index for eight years in a row, consistently setting a pace that other retailers don’t seem to be able to touch. Their high score is partially because of the appeal and variety of merchandise they offer, a priority area for some other retailers.

“At this point, Amazon has been dominant for so long and has such a history of focusing on the customer, its hard to imagine anyone else coming close,” added Freed. “Companies should emulate Amazon’s focus on the customer, which is clearly linked to superior revenues over the years.”

The range of scores among the top 100 retailers spans from Amazon’s high of 88 to a score of 72 shared by and

The report includes individual satisfaction scores for 95 of the 100 top e-retailers (see link below). In addition to the previous points about individual company performance, other key findings include:

Merchandise is a top priority for two-thirds of retailers: Customer experience analytics can provide retailers with a clear direction on prioritizing improvements that will have the greatest return on investment. While many retailers are focused on price, only seven of the top 100 companies registered price as a high priority for improvement. However, 65 of the measured sites should improve merchandise (the appeal, variety, and availability of products) in order to increase overall satisfaction, and by extension, sales, loyalty and customer recommendations.

Customer satisfaction matters: Compared to shoppers who report being dissatisfied with a website, highly satisfied shoppers say they are 67% more likely to consider the company the next time they purchase a similar product. Satisfied shoppers also report being far more likely to return to the site, recommend it and stay loyal to the brand. Furthermore, analysis of top e-retailers in the United States has shown that, on average, a one-point change in website satisfaction was found to predict a 14% change in the log of revenues generated on the web.

See the full table of scores here.

Source: ForeSee

MacDailyNews Take: No cause for alarm. Apple Store Online is simply returning to “normal” after a spring 2012 anomaly. See related article below. Also, Apple had an score of 80 last year, so how can this be “its lowest score in four years?”

Related article:
Apple notches biggest jump in customer satisfaction among top 100 online retailers – May 9, 2012


  1. Amazon (in the UK) are horrible to resolve an issues with. They don’t seem to have any ticket system so each email, send via a web form, is separate from any previous emails on he subject so you end up going overt the same ground each time.

    Great to buy from but awful if there’s a problem.

  2. And the hits keep on coming. When will the Apple board of directors recognize their company is going nowhere under Tim Cook? Customer service sucks, Apple Care is useless – the front line crew usually knows less about how to solve a problem than the customer with the problem – and now the over blown hype over the “remarkable” retail stores has lost its luster and, like the rest of the company, has become ordinary.

    1. Go back under your rock troll.
      I picked up a new phone on Monday. Ordered it online and picked up from the store a hour later. The place was packed as usual but I didn’t have to wait since there were plenty of assistants around. Perfect shopping experience.
      Compare that to Macys. I had to wait 20 mins to check out since there staffing levels were so low.

      1. Ditto. Got my iPhone 5 about three weeks ago on a random Wednesday or Thursday night at the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas after placing reservation online. The store was packed, but it took about 10 minutes to pick up and unless I’d gotten my phone for free, my purchase experience simply couldn’t have been any better.

        Same with my iPad mini when it was released. Perfect online shopping experience. Pre-order, great communication, tracking, and received when they said I would get it.

        It’s totally anecdotal of course, but my experience mirrors every other experience I’ve ever had in an Apple store, which is to say it was exceptional.

        Can we keep this in perspective? If this were school, Amazon, the number-one mail-order seller received a rating of 88, aka between an A-minus and B-plus. Apple received an 80, so between a B and B-plus. If we were grading on a curve, Apple would have had an easy A.

      2. Keep calling me a troll if that makes your fantasy over what’s going on with Apple look good to you. The reality is revealed in the continuing reports of Apple’s decline as confirmed by what has happened with AAPL. I am NOT a troll. I am a very frustrated, loyal, and disappointed Apple customer who owns just about everything they make and have since 1984. I am an expert on the Apple experience of yesterday now lost and gone. And, that goes for the hardware, the software, the stores online and behind the glass doors, and the ridiculous Apple Care of today vs. what once was. It’s all gone now and will not recover under Tim Cook. He doesn’t know how, investors gave him a chance, saw the result, and the company is what it is – ordinary.

        1. My experience from Applecare whenever I have needed it over the last 10 years has been great. Repairs or replacements have been done quickly and access to repair centers easy.
          Contrast this to an incident in 1998 when a Apple tower system had an issue soon after purchase. It took me weeks for Apple and their associated service partner to fix the problem. The same problem prompted a recall of all affected units.
          A co-worker has had a major issue with a new Dell laptop. He has spent weeks trying to get the issue resolved and has even been talking to the VP of customer service.
          Apple understand how to service the customer and part of the formula is to resolve the issue quickly and replace the unit if necessary.

        2. If by ordinary you mean copied by every electronics company with a storefront, bashed by the media without a grain of truth and ridiculed by every “loyal since 1984” supporter because Tim Cook hasn’t shown up in person to diaper their cry baby asses, then you are correct. The truth is most people don’t want Tim to succeed. His failure was complete before Steve had even passed away thanks to the media and competitors who saw an opportunity for personal gain. The “1984’s, media roaches and competitors” won’t look at the growth that Apple has enjoyed this past year because the facts would only get in the way of their opportunity to bitch and undermine Apple. Do us all a favor and go be loyal somewhere else. Apple is now ordinary, we got it! So go find the next big thing and ride it for all it’s worth.

  3. Customer service *is* Amazon’s product. They don’t make anything (Kindle aside). They don’t have retail stores. Basically the only thing they do is online sales and that’s their product. They’re very good at it.

  4. Hmm. Can’t say that I can tell any difference this year as opposed to last year (Amazon). or 5 years ago. or 10 years ago. They made a decent system to begin with and not much has changed. If the breadth of offerings is key, then it is not of very much use to me. Apple’s on-line experience is just as good, and it has not really changed in the last few years by my notice. My conclusion is: the survey is of little use other than an opportunity to crow or criticize.

  5. Amazon makes it so easy to order from rural areas. How they continue to provide free shipping to so many locations still amazes me. They have to be losing money on a lot of that. But it is why many of us stay with them. I agree that returns/service could be a little easier. But it’s not needed often enough for me to be concerned about it. They are good.

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