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Customer Satisfaction Index at Record Level

Inflation remains a worry for most consumers.





The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has increased sharply over the past seven quarters, including the just-released first quarter of 2024, when it advanced 0.3% to an all-time high score of 78.0 (on a 0-100 scale). That increase is smaller than other recent quarters, which is consistent with slower growth in consumer spending and GDP, index officials say.

“While inflation has abated, it is probably still a factor because food and housing are now a much higher percentage of household income than they used to be,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and the Distinguished Donald C. Cook Professor (emeritus) of Business Administration at the University of Michigan. “Even if the proportion of discretionary consumer spending declines, customer satisfaction will still have a major impact on how consumers spend much of their money. Consequently, the economic outlook is fairly positive — but not without caution.”

The ACSI results appear to be inconsistent with most political polls, which typically find that people are not pleased with the economy and are concerned about inflation.

Clearly, inflation has contributed to the decline in customer satisfaction, but only between 2020 and 2022. Before then, the rate of inflation was rarely above 2% and it seems close to returning to that level again. The biggest threat to the economy now is not weak customer satisfaction leading to lower consumer spending, but interest rates and high customer expectations.

The ACSI measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with roughy 400 companies in about 40 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various services of federal and local government agencies. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 200,000 customers annually.

Click here for more from the latest index.




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