The third-quarter 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index found that customer satisfaction with pet food purchases has dropped for the second year in a row, down 1.2% to a satisfaction index ranking of 82 out of 100.According to the ACSI report, the decline at the industry level is driven by a large drop for petfood manufacturer Mars Petcare as well as aggregate satisfaction declines for smaller petfood labels. The report also attributes price to the depressed satisfaction in pet food purchases.
In 2010, both Mars and the smaller petfood brands led the petfood category with a ranking of 85. However, small brands now tie the industry satisfaction average, following a 4% drop to 82, and Mars dropped 6% to last place with a score of 80. Hill’s Pet Nutrition gained 2% satisfaction, making the company the industry leader with a score of 84. Procter & Gamble’s Iams petfood brand gained 1% to a score of 81, while Del Monte's satisfaction ranking fell by 1% and Nestlé Purina PetCare's ranking remained unchanged, both with scores of 82.
“When there is little or no industry growth, the only way for many companies to expand is to take market share from competition,” said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI. “In an anemic labor market with tight household budgets, this leads to more price competition, deflationary pressure and a further weakening of aggregate demand. The best defense a company can have against competitive efforts to take market share is to have satisfied customers.”