We just completed our 2021 U.S. NPS benchmark study, so I decided to take a look at how consumer attitudes have changed over the last two years. 

In a post last year, I examined how Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) in the U.S. collapsed in 2020. Our latest study shows that NPS made improvements towards 2019 levels, but the rebound is not equal across all ages and sectors. As you can see in the chart below:  

  • Overall NPS bounced halfway back. After the average NPS dropped by 61% in 2020, it increased by 69% from 2020 to 2021. The 2021 average NPS of 20.3 is 67% of the 2019 levels.
  • Younger consumers have the most variability. Adults who are younger than 35 had the largest drop in NPS between 2019 and 2020, 30.9 points. They also had the largest increase in 2020, 10.8 points. However, their NPS remains 85% below the 2019 level.  
  • Older consumers have limited variability. NPS among consumers who are at least 55-years-old didn’t go through much of a change, only dropping 6.7 points between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, their NPS almost reached their 2019 level.

TV and Internet Service Providers Lead NPS Recovery

I also examined the industry-specific scores in relation to their 2019 levels. The NPS recovery is inconsistent across industries, As you can see in the chart below:

  • Every industry advanced. All 20 industries received higher NPS in 2021 than they did in 2020. Nine of the 20 industries reached at least 80% of their 2019 NPS levels.
  • Payments had the smallest improvements.  Payments increased from their 2020 NPS low the least, with a recovery of less than 1% since the crash in 2020. Car rentals also remain significantly down, only reaching 14% of their 2019 level. 
  • TV and internet services blossomed. After dropping to 54% of their 2019 levels in 2020, TV and internet service providers shot up to more than twice their 2019 levels in 2021. The only other industries to outperform their 2019 NPS level are streaming media and insurance providers.

The bottom line: Hopefully 2021 NPS represents the start towards a more robust recovery.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

Bruce Temkin, XMP, CCXP, is the Head of Qualtrics XM Institute