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Autobarn accelerates its way to customer satisfaction success

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), May 2015-April 2016. Base: Australians 14+

The results for the July Customer Satisfaction Awards are in, and full details of all 32 category winners (as well as runners up) can be seen at As usual, Roy Morgan congratulates this month’s winners, including new leaders in the categories of Building Society/Credit Union, Risk & Life Insurer, Quick Service Restaurant, Chemist/Pharmacy, Discount Department Store and Shoe Store for their industry-leading commitment to their customers.

This month, we take a look at Auto Stores, a small but competitive category which has seen substantial year-on-year change. Whereas Supercheap Auto won the Customer Satisfaction Award in July 2015 by satisfying 88% of its customers in a four-week period, a new leader holds pole position in July 2016 with exactly the same score: take a bow, Autobarn!

In a striking reminder that every percent counts when it comes to customer satisfaction, Autobarn’s 88% winning score is only a smidgeon ahead of Supercheap Auto with 87%. This makes it two months in a row for Autobarn — quite a feat considering Supercheap Auto’s 14-month stranglehold on the category prior to that.

Customer Satisfaction: Auto Stores, July 2015 vs July 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), May 2015-April 2016. Base: Australians 14+

Autobarn’s victory also represents a real turnaround for the chain, which was in third place out of three contenders a year ago.

Repco now occupies third place, having satisfied 82% of its customers in July 2016 (down from 87% in July 2015). Even with more than eight out of 10 customers being satisfied with their Repco shopping experience, this is not a strong enough performance to make an impact in this high-scoring category.

Different strokes for different folks?

Roy Morgan data shows that customers who shop at Repco are not especially different to the other stores’ shoppers in terms of their attitudes to cars, except for the fact that they’re more likely to consider themselves ‘a bit of a car enthusiast’. Dyed-in-the-wool car nuts can have very specific demands, so this possibly makes them a little harder to please than the other stores’ customers.

Autobarn customers, on the other hand are noticeably more likely than those of the other two stores to ‘prefer a car that has lots of sex appeal’ and to ‘only buy a car that is fun to drive’. For these individuals, shopping for accessories to boost their car’s fun factor and/or sex appeal would almost certainly be an enjoyable experience.

Meanwhile, Supercheap Auto’s customers appear to be the most loyal, showing the least inclination to shop at either of the other chains. In contrast, elevated proportions of both Autobarn and Repco shoppers also frequent Supercheap Autos in an average four weeks.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Every month Roy Morgan Research awards those businesses leading their respective fields in customer satisfaction. Given that retail is at the absolute coalface of customer satisfaction, it is always interesting to see which companies are going the extra mile to keep consumers happy.

“In the case of Auto Stores, there has been some fluctuation over the last 12 months, with current leader Autobarn coming from behind to take the honours after a prolonged winning streak by Supercheap Auto. As we have found, all three retailers in the category have fairly similar customers, meaning that cross-visitation is a very real challenge to overcome, or at least mitigate. Of course, one way to do this is by satisfying your clientele more than the competition!

“The question now is whether Autobarn can maintain its lead in such a tight field, and recapture its past Customer Satisfaction glories. Having won the Roy Morgan Auto Store of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2014, it conceded last year’s award to Supercheap Auto, so will no doubt be keen to reclaim the title!"

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%