Digital Experience Rankings: Scoring the Best & Worst Performing Industries for 2021

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
October 15, 2020

Digital experience has quickly become the bread and butter of customer experience (CX) initiatives – especially in light of a turbulent 2020 that has pushed consumers online.

From globally recognized retailers and restaurants to enterprise grade financial services and travel brands, digital experiences on websites and apps can make or break the customer journey no matter the industry. And as online traffic surges – up 20% since the United States’ lockdown – perfecting the user experience (UX) has become a key differentiator in virtually every industry.

How well prepared is your website or app for this new kind of attention and traffic?

If you haven’t already made it a priority, the time to invest in user experiences and seamless digital journeys has arrived. Research shows that, on average, every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return, and a well-designed UX can generate up to 400% better conversion rates.

But to truly become a leader in your industry, it takes an honest understanding of how digital experience impacts factors like frustration, engagement, conversion, loyalty, revenue and more – and it doesn’t hurt to know where you stand amongst your peers.

How we calculated digital experience benchmarks across 4.1 billion user sessions

To create clarity around digital experience standards, we embarked on a data-driven study: Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021. In this study, our data scientists crunched a sample size of 4.1 billion user sessions across 11 different industries over 2020.

Going beyond typical web analytics metrics and voice of customer data, which offer useful but limited insights, and into actual user experiences, our data scientists leveraged Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS®). DXS® measures user behaviors and interactions to calculate a score between 0 and 10 for every single online customer experience.

Accounting for frustration, engagement, navigation, along with form and technical experiences across all 11 industries, crunching the average DXS® of all 4.1bn user sessions turned out a score of 6.34/10 – not so bad overall. But what does that mean in terms of revenue opportunity?

Well, as validation studies with travel giant TUI and retail magnate River Island have demonstrated, just a 1-point change in DXS® can make a potential difference of $30m and $50m worth of annual sales respectively. High quality digital experiences are not, therefore, just nice-to-haves: they are critical to revenue generation.

While the overall DXS® figure is interesting, it becomes more so when broken down by industry. So, how do you think your own industry’s digital experiences perform under the lens of DXS®? Are you better or worse off compared to other industries? Our new rankings tell all.

Ranking the digital experiences between 11 industries heading into 2021

It’s challenging to differentiate your website or app’s digital experiences without knowing where exactly your competitors and peers stand. Given 70% of enterprise CEOs see UX & CX as a competitive differentiator, pinpointing exactly how you can stand out from the crowd matters more than ever before. So, let’s dive into the data.

1. Restaurants – 7.56/10

Leading the top of the standings, the restaurant industry – from local eateries to delivery services – sits a whopping 1.3 points above the multi-industry average. While hungry users may generally be more tolerant of poor digital experiences when it comes to ordering food, the industry will continue to thrive by keeping frustrations low with seamless engagements throughout the user journey. Find full industry results here.

2. Healthcare – 6.62/10

With a respectable 2nd place finish, the healthcare industry definitely puts patients first – from clinical care to online. With an above average DXS®, healthcare digital experiences make patient care relatively convenient and accessible online, but if organizations thoroughly investigated and resolved common frustrations on healthcare sites then loyalty amongst their client base would surely climb. Find full industry results here.

3. Energy – 6.55/10

Rounding out the podium, the energy industry’s DXS® ranks above average compared to other industries. With a broad spectrum of users to cater to – from households to businesses – energy companies keep online access to services and resources user-friendly. However, energy websites and apps could better capitalize on user engagements to drive up conversions and loyalty. Find full industry results here.

4. Financial Service – 6.47/10

With the most sessions analyzed in the benchmarking report (25%), the financial services industry sits towards the top half of these digital experience rankings. With digital banking and insurance usage surging worldwide, the industry has made good on their effort to deliver robust user experiences. But FinServ institutions could work on driving more engagements with lower frustrations. Find full industry results here.

5. Media & Publishing – 6.42/10

Just above the multi-industry average, media and publishing – an industry dominated by digital – does enough to keep users happy, but definitely could improve experiences for more traffic, engagements, and loyalty . As a whole, digital media and publishing organizations should place a premium priority on technical performance to maximize speed and minimize frustration. Find full industry results here.

6. Non-profits – 6.25/10

The non-profit industry’s digital experiences weigh-in just under the multi-industry average, which is promising considering many organizations have limited access to resources compared to enterprise businesses. But to nail non-profit digital experiences, organizations should prioritize their efforts on delivering more intuitive navigation with lower frustration throughout the user journey. Find full industry results here.

7. Retail – 6.22/10

Growing online shopping demands only surged higher with 2020 lockdowns, which may in-part explain the below average score the retail industry registered. Rising ecommerce traffic brings new pressure, but also plenty of opportunity for brands to differentiate with their digital experiences. Retailers must capitalize by anticipating and reducing frustrations while finding creative ways to spark engagement. Find full industry results here.

8. Travel – 6.00/10

Perhaps hit the hardest by the global upheaval, the travel industry’s digital experiences didn’t fare much better with an underwhelming DXS®. But for travel brands to truly recover – from airlines to hotels to booking sites – fine-tuning the end-to-end digital experience will bolster loyalty for a more secure future. For travel, simplified navigation and user interfaces will go a long way to draw customers back. Find full industry results here.

9. Tech – 5.97/10

It appears the tech industry has a bit of work to do in terms of shoring up digital experiences as they rank just under the 6-point DXS® mark. From IT business solutions to new consumer-facing gadgets, the digital experience can detract from even the most innovative products. To take that big step forward, tech brands must prioritize delivering their offerings in a more engaging and interesting way for users. Find full industry results here.

10. Telecoms – 5.87/10

Nearing the bottom of the leaderboard, digital experiences in the telecoms industry leaves much to be desired. From home and business internet to personal cellular plans, essentials services like these draw massive user bases who have every reason to churn due to poor digital experiences. Telecom brands should look to rework navigation and revamp web content to reengage reluctant users. Find full industry results here.

11. Automotive – 5.86/10

Rounding out the cellar of these rankings, the automotive industry registered a lowly 5.86 DXS®. Put in a tough spot by lockdowns, its ever clearer that automotive brands still need to work out the kinks of online car shopping. Given the complex nature of digital car showrooms that users require, streamlining navigation and optimizing performance should help car brands regain traction online. Find full industry results here.

Keep your digital optimizations data-driven with the latest industry insights

Whether your industry scores as a digital experience leader or laggard, these rankings shed light on true digital experience standards between and within major industries.

From here, the key is not to relish or sulk in these results, but to prioritize digital experience gaps you can shore up with optimizations to your website or app moving forward. Those who don’t could find themselves slipping down the ranks to competitors.

But to truly nail the digital experience – no matter the industry – you need access to the right data. In fact, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable.

To ensure you and your team are rolling out UX improvements and fixes that will actually move the needle on engagement, conversion, and loyalty, you need insights you can act on. To get just that, download the full benchmarking report – Digital Experience & Conversion: Industry Benchmarks for 2021 – to take your website or app to the top of your industry.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, Digital Experience, DXS, User experience
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