Services & Software

Unhappy holidays for Netflix, says study

The online purveyor of DVD rentals and streaming movies saw its overall consumer-satisfaction score drop, while rival Amazon's rose.

The old year certainly wasn't a happy one for Netflix, and the new year may not be either, if the results of a just-published survey are any indication.

A customer satisfaction index of the top 40 online retailers during the holidays shows that the online purveyor of DVD rentals and streaming movies saw its overall score drop 8 percent, or seven points, from last year, to a total of 79.

The company saw scores dip for every Website element that analytics firm ForeSee measures, including content, functionality, merchandise, and prices.

The score of 79 is average, says ForeSee, meaning Netflix has definitely lost the glow it once had among customers. Netflix, of course, ticked a lot of people off this year by jacking up prices and fumbling about with an eventually aborted overhaul of its site. That seems to have affected consumer attitudes during the holidays, and it might influence them in the coming year.

"Customer satisfaction is predictive, which means that Netflix's financial woes may be just beginning," ForeSee CEO Larry Freed said in a press release.

Amazon, meanwhile, saw its score rise by two points, to 88. That, too, could mean bad news for Netflix, though Amazon's competing movie service, Prime, may or may not be a serious threat.

Other findings: dropped 6 percent to 73 points and was joined at the bottom of the satisfaction list by, which dropped 5 percent to 72 points.

Consumer-electronics e-tailer and department store veteran JC Penney saw the biggest gains, with an 8 percent rise to 79 points, and a 6 percent jump to 83 points, respectively. Apple's former head of retail operations, Ron Johnson, moved to Penney's this year. Meanwhile, Apple's online store also logged a total of 83 points, a gain of a point year over year.

Here's some chart love. (And you can take a look at stats for all 40 of the e-tailers here.)