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E-Commerce Industry Soaring

  |  February 18, 2003   |  Comments

Research says Amazon.com is leading a performance surge, while travel, online brokerage and auction sites also are doing well.

A study shows that online retailing, travel, brokerage and auctions are stronger in terms of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and future economic growth than virtually any other sector of the economy.

And among Web retailers, Amazon.com and bookseller Barnes&Noble.com are said to be "leading a performance surge."

The e-commerce results are part of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) study by the University of Michigan and ForeSee Results, an online customer satisfaction management firm. The overall e-commerce score of 77.6 is a 4.7-point improvement over last year.

2002 2001 2000
E-Retail Average 83 77 78
Amazon.com, Inc. 88 84 84
Barnes&Noble.com, Inc. 87 82 77
Buy.com, Inc. 80 78 78
1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. 78 76 69
All Others 82 75 77
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)

The ACSI report includes scores for four categories of e-commerce: online retail, travel, online brokerage, and auction/reverse auction. The e-retail category, with a score of 83 on the 100-point scale, was up significantly over last year (from 77).

Online travel services are a strong performer, with an average score of 77 and tightly clustered competition among Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and smaller players.

Online Travel Services Average
(first year measured)
Travelocity.com 76
Expedia.com 80
Orbit.com 76
All Others 77
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)

The auction/reverse auction category is dominated by eBay, which registered an 82 far ahead of its closest measured rival, Priceline.com, which earned only a 71. Online brokerage services overall earned a score of 73.

2002 2001 2000
Auction/Reverse Auction Average 75 74 72
e-Bay, Inc. 82 82 80
All Others 78 75 73
Priceline.com, Inc. 71 69 66
Ubid, Inc. 70 69 67
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)

"Brick-and-mortar retail is doing fine, but lags way behind the trajectory of e-retail," said Larry Freed, an expert on online customer satisfaction and CEO of ForeSee Results.

The e-retail sector scores above 90 on perceived quality, a score that makes it an economy-wide standard-setter, Freed said. "In today's tough economy, e-commerce has strong potential to be a bright spot that can play an important role in fueling a recovery," he added.

The ACSI is released quarterly by the University of Michigan, measuring a different set of industries each quarter such that each industry is measured once per year.

2002 2001 2000
Online Brokerage Avg. 73 69 72
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Online 76 72 76
E*Trade Securities, Inc. Online 69 66 66
All Others 73 65 70
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)


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