Waitrose is UK’s most-loved supermarket chain, Market Force Information study shows

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An in-depth industry study from Market Force Information, the customer experience management company, reveals the UK’s best loved supermarket chain. Waitrose tops the poll for the second year in a row, followed by Aldi and Marks & Spencer.

More than 6,648 UK consumers rated how satisfied they were with their last experience at a supermarket and how likely they would be to recommend it to others. This data was averaged to rate each brand on a Composite Loyalty Index which benchmarks overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

The study also identified the key qualities that drive satisfaction, revealing the ways in which supermarkets can win and retain customers without resorting to price wars. Overall, one in 10 people were dissatisfied with their last grocery shopping experience.

While Waitrose remains the nation’s favourite, Aldi has leapfrogged Marks & Spencer into second place with Sainsbury’s and Morrisons claiming the fourth and fifth spots respectively. According to the research, Tesco is the only supermarket to improve on its 2015 score, increasing by two percentage points.

Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information, said: “Clearly premium brands are winning the war for customer’s hearts, but Aldi’s entry into the top two shows how discounter chains are stealing market share from conventional supermarkets by delivering extremely well on value.”

Shoppers rated supermarkets on six satisfaction drivers, including cashier courtesy and item availability. Waitrose leads the way in nearly all customer metrics, with Aldi taking the top spot in the checkout speed category. Competition is very stiff across the board, with five brands competing for second and third place across the six satisfaction drivers.

Satisfaction with “availability of items” and “service provided in speciality departments” received the lowest average ratings, offering a clear indication of opportunities for supermarkets to differentiate and improve.

Flink comments: “In a notoriously tight sector characterised by ferocious price wars, our research shows that it is also possible to win market share by offering a better experience and by zeroing in on the exact factors that matter to customers.”

The Market Force Information study also explored customer attitudes to, and use of, various technologies employed by supermarkets. With Waitrose recently announcing the launch of its first cashless store, technology is set to play an even bigger role in the grocery sector over the coming year.

Key findings include:

  • Online ordering continues to have a lacklustre performance: under a quarter of consumers have used click and collect, and half of those had only done so once, with over a quarter left dissatisfied with the experience
  • Two thirds (67%) of respondents have had groceries delivered, but a significant 21% were left unsatisfied
  • Grocery app usage has fallen since 2015, and 68% of people say they have never used one. However, consumers that do use apps use them primarily for cost saving features by comparing prices and obtaining vouchers. People who do use apps are much more likely to have used a retailer’s app than a third party