America has a new favorite home improvement store

(WJET/WFXP) — After 5 consecutive years at the top, Ace Hardware has been dethroned as America’s favorite home improvement store according to JD Power’s recently released 2024 Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study.

Menards took the top spot from Ace Hardware, narrowly beating that retailer’s score by two points. However, the overall rankings reflect a very competitive marketplace, with only an 18-point gap between the highest and lowest ranked retailers. The strengths and opportunities are highlighted at the dimension level. Across the retailers, there are dimensions almost each individual retailer performs particularly strong on, while also falling below showing some areas of improvement on other dimensions. In fact, three of the four retailers score highest in at least a few of the dimensions, which highlight their competitive strengths. No single retailer “runs the table” on the JD Power dimensions.

Michael Taylor, senior managing director of retail intelligence practice at JD Power

Menards began on a small plot of land with a small office and shop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1958. The company has only grown since and continues to grow every year with over 330 stores in 15 states throughout the Midwest. According to their website, Menards prides themselves on their friendly service, treating customers like family in a hometown hardware store atmosphere.

Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking:

  1. Menards (678)
  2. Ace Hardware (676)
  3. The Home Depot (665)
  4. Lowe’s (660)

JD Power conducted this study from January 2024 to March 2024 fielding 2,157 customer responses. All 2,157 participants had purchased home improvement-related products from a home improvement retailer within the previous year.

Over the last few years, the study has examined 5 dimensions which included in-store experience, merchandise, price, staff and service, and online experience. For this year’s study, three more dimensions have been added and the previous dimensions have been adjusted to more fully capture the overall experience. The 8 different categories used in the 2024 study include store/facility; products/supplies; value given the price; people; digital tools; level of trust (new); return policy/process (new); and additional services (new).

“Only 58% of customers indicated the store was very clean and 52% indicated product information was clear and helpful. These two factors play a vital role in overall customer trust in the retailer and as customers are spending an average of $1,786 a year on home improvement products, these are areas in which the retailer can improve to increase share of wallet and overall customer satisfaction.”

Michael Taylor, senior managing director of retail intelligence practice at JD Power

A major finding in the study was that if a customer has complete trust in their home improvement retailer, they will make 80% of their purchases there. That’s compared to the only 69% of customers when their trust level is said to be “good.” Two factors in particular play a vital role in overall customer trust, cleanliness of store and clear and helpful product information.