BrandSource Dealers Dominate Consumer Reports Retail Rankings

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Consumer Reports has long championed the independent dealer channel over big-box chains when it comes to shopping for appliances.

But in its 2020 Buying Guide, the product review leader not only doubles down on that advice, it cites four BrandSource dealers as tops in customer satisfaction, based on price, selection, service, in-store atmosphere, e-commerce ease, and delivery.

The rankings were determined by a survey of more than 48,000 Consumer Reports readers who rated their most recent buying experiences at sellers of major appliance. The list includes national chains like Costco, The Home Depot and Best Buy; Amazon.com; multi-regional retailers like Pac Sales and P.C. Richard & Son; and independent dealers.

Of the 23 retailers rated, BrandSource member Famous Tate Appliance & Bedding came in second place, one slot ahead of Amazon, with a satisfaction score of 93 on a scale of 83 to 95. The Florida chain received high marks across the board but ranked especially high on service and in-store atmosphere.

Related: Famous Tate Founder John Horst Enters BrandSource Hall of Fame

Coming in ninth place was Spencer’s TV & Appliance, which tied fellow BrandSource member Grand Appliance & TV (No. 10) with a satisfaction score of 88. Both companies excel at service, the survey showed, and are also strong in selection, in-store atmosphere and delivery.

See also: Grand Appliance’s Reckling Honored by ADL

Also topping the Consumer Reports list is Washington State-based Albert Lee Appliance, which edged out JCPenney for 16th place with a satisfaction score of 86, while the overall independent channel placed seventh with a score of 90.

Rounding out the list with only middling rankings were, in descending order, Lowe’s, Menards, Sears Hometown Stores, The Home Depot, Bray & Scarff and Sears.

As Consumer Reports concludes, “The biggest stores aren’t necessarily the best.”

Among its other findings:

  • Eighty-two percent of major appliances are still purchased in stores, although online sales have climbed to 18 percent, up from 11 percent five years ago;
  • Four out of five major appliance shoppers begin by researching products online, and over 80 percent of those visit a retailer’s website before making a purchase at its store or website;
  • Thirty-six percent of shoppers who buy a major appliance online first check out the product in a brick-and-mortar store (“showrooming”).  Nearly half (46 percent) of shoppers who buy a major appliance at Costco.com and more than 30 percent of those who buy a major appliance from the websites of Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s go to a physical showroom first, the survey showed.
  • Eighteen percent of major appliance buyers also purchase an extended warranty or service contract. The New York metro area’s P.C. Richard & Son, and Washington, D.C.’s Bray & Scarff, were rated the pushiest when it comes to hawking warranties, but their  attachment rates are also among the highest, at about 38 percent.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.