ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Customer satisfaction with nondurable categories comprised of everyday consumer purchases remains relatively stable, according to a report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Purchasers of cigarettes are still pleased with their chosen product, with the tobacco industry showing changes in its ACSI scores of 1% or less compared with a year ago.
Reynolds American captures the industry lead with a 5% gain to 81, edging out its main competitor Philip Morris, holding steady at 80. For Reynolds, 2012 marks a third consecutive year of customer satisfaction improvement and a 16-year ACSI high. The aggregate of all other tobacco brands follows behind the leaders at 77 (+1%).
While U.S. sales have slumped for cigarettes, factors such as high quality and product innovation keep customer satisfaction relatively high and stable for the industries.
Customer satisfaction with tobacco products picked up for a third consecutive year, rising 1.3% to an ACSI score of 79. With this score, the industry just surpasses the ACSI level it achieved four years ago, before new tobacco taxes drove up retail prices.
Overall cigarette consumption in the United States, however, continues to decline, ACSI said.
"In the midst of a weaker economy, price plays a role in both slowing consumption and keeping the cigarette industry's satisfaction lower relative to other nondurable categories," said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners & Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference. "At the same time, tobacco users continue to view the quality of cigarettes to be quite high."
Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is an indirect subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. The company’s brands include Camel, Pall Mall, Winston, Kool, Doral and Salem.
Click here to view the full ACSI chart.