Consumer shopping satisfaction has plummeted in December, yet consumer spending remains on the rise. What about Christmas shopping leads to such an unhappiness for Kiwis?
According to Customer Radar, customers are not feeling the Christmas spirit this year as shoppers becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their experiences.
Through studying customer satisfaction from small to large businesses at 1,500 locations across the country, Customer Radar has shown that reasons for unhappiness with spending were different for each region.
Mat Wylie, CEO of Customer Radar, says, “It was interesting to see people expressed different reasons for why they were dissatisfied depending on where they lived.
“We found that city-based customers become significantly less satisfied than small town customers. On average, customer satisfaction scores for city stores drop 5.5 period over the Christmas period, while town stores drop by only 3.2 percent.”
Despite consumer satisfaction on the decline, spending has still continued to rise in the lead up to Christmas. Paymark recorded a rise of 14.4 percent through Core Retail merchants in December compared to the same time last year.
Over December so far, spending across all Paymark merchants was $1.35 billion. Underlying growth was 7.8 percent when compared to the 4-10th December in 2016.
Consumer spending is increasing even though overall satisfaction is down. Customer Radar findings show both lack of service and speed of service were the most complained about.
Within large cities such as Auckland and Wellington, the biggest issues came from speed of service, while consumers cared less about the personal relationships they created with employees.
Smaller more rural regions were the opposite, caring less about speed of service and more about customer service and helpfulness.
Related to the study, Consumer NZ discovered that customer dissatisfaction came more so where larger big-box retailers were involved.
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said its latest retailer satisfaction survey found smaller players often out-performed the retail giants when it came to keeping customers happy.
“Harvey Norman, Godfreys, PlaceMakers, Specsavers, Bunnings, The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery all dragged the chain for overall customer satisfaction in one or more of the eight product categories we surveyed,” she said.
Expert advice and hassle-free returns and exchanges along with good customer service are what made smaller stores (but also Mitre 10) stand out as the most pleasant shopping experience.