Market Overview

IKEA and Ace Hardware Are America's Favorite Home Retailers, New Market Force Information Study Finds

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IKEA and Ace both earn top marks for merchandise, value, service and cleanliness

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (PRWEB) August 22, 2018

IKEA is consumers' favorite home furnishings retailer and Ace Hardware is their favorite home improvement chain, according to a new nationwide study by Market Force Information (Market Force), a worldwide leader in customer experience management.

Market Force polled more than 1,800 consumers for the home furnishings portion of the study and more than 4,000 for the home improvement portion. In addition to ranking the home retailers, Market Force also looked at the attributes that set the industry leaders apart from the pack, including merchandise variety, store layout, value and customer service.

IKEA No. 1 Home Furnishings Retailer
IKEA, which has maintained steady growth in the face of mounting e-commerce competition, ranks as America's favorite home furnishings retailer. It earned a score of 75% on the Composite Loyalty Index, placing it far ahead of second-place HomeGoods, which earned 63%. Target and Bed Bath & Beyond tied for third with 61%, and Walmart trailed with 43%. [See Graph 1].

Target Wins on Store Layout, Ease of Finding Items
When it comes to the six most important customer experience attributes in the home furnishings sector, IKEA and Target take the top spots. IKEA ranked first for merchandise variety and availability, as well as value and store cleanliness. Target was found to have the best store layout and received the highest marks for ease of finding merchandise in its stores. Bed Bath & Beyond performed consistently well, earning a top-three ranking in all of the categories. On the flip side, Walmart ranked last for store cleanliness and merchandise variety, and tied for last alongside Target for value. [See Graph 2].

Which Furnishers Excel in Service?
Nearly half – 43% – of customers reported that they received assistance during their most recent trip to a home furnishings retailer. Nearly three-quarters found the associate friendly, but only 56% were asked if they wanted to purchase the merchandise in question.

Not surprisingly, overall furnishings leader IKEA outperformed the other home retailers in customer service. Consumers find its associates to be the friendliest and have the most product knowledge. It's also easier to find an associate at IKEA than other chains. Bed Bath & Beyond ranked second across the board, while HomeGoods ranked lowest for friendliness, overall service and ease of finding an associate. [See Graph 3].

"Service is of the utmost importance in any retail situation, but particularly in the larger-format stores that are commonplace in home furnishings and home improvement," said Brad Christian, chief customer officer for Market Force. "The customer experience largely relies on being able to find what you need and someone to help. Otherwise, customers can quickly become frustrated and that can lead retailers to a missed sale."

Ace Again Tops Among Home Improvement Retailers
Ace Hardware, known for its neighborly service and an intense focus on the customer experience, earned the top spot among home improvement retailers once again in 2018 with a score of 68% on the Composite Loyalty Index. Menards ranked second with 57%, Lowe's was third with 54% and Home Depot was fourth with 53%. Walmart was a distant fifth, earning just 36%. [See Graph 4].

Ace Sweeps Customer Experience Categories
Market Force also looked at how the top brands fare in the seven attributes that matter most to consumers. Ace Hardware dominated, ranking No. 1 in all categories, with particularly strong marks for store cleanliness, checkout speed and store layout. Menards tied with Ace Hardware for first place for merchandise variety, and took second place for value, merchandise availability and store cleanliness. Walmart landed at the bottom in every category except value, an area that saw Home Depot rank last. [See Graph 5].

Methodology
For the favorite retailer rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their last experience at a home improvement or furnishings store, and their likelihood to recommend it to others. Only brands with 100 or more reviews were included in the rankings. That data was averaged to rate each brand on an aggregation of the two measures – a Composite Loyalty Index.

Survey Demographics
The survey was conducted online in June 2018 across the United States. There was a pool of 1,841 consumers for the home furnishings portion and a pool of 4,040 consumers for the home improvement portion of the study. The participants represented a cross-section of the four U.S. Census regions and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 55% reporting annual household incomes of more than $50,000. Respondents' ages ranged from 18 to over 65. Seventy four percent were female, 25% were male and 1% preferred not to answer.

About Market Force Information
Market Force Information® is a customer experience (CX) management company that provides location-level measurement solutions that help businesses protect their brand reputation, delight customers and make more money. Solutions include customer experience surveys, employee engagement surveys, mystery shopping, contact center services and social media review tracking, which are integrated into one technology and analytics platform, KnowledgeForce®. Founded in 2005, Market Force has a growing global presence, with offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Spain. It serves more than 200 clients that operate multi-location businesses, including restaurants, major retailers, grocery and drug stores, petro/convenience stores, banking & financial institutions and entertainment brands. The company has been recognized as one of the top 50 market research organizations in the AMA Gold Report. For more information about Market Force, please visit us online at http://www.marketforce.com.

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