[New Research] Consumer Trends for 2022

How has living through a pandemic changed consumer behavior and perceptions?

Read the Report


The Best Brands and Sectors for Customer Experience 2021

We analyzed a year’s worth of consumer feedback around the world’s biggest brands to find out which sectors and companies are creating the most positive experiences.

Book a meeting
REPORTThe Best Brands and Sectors for Customer Experience 2021

To create great customer experiences is to generate more interest, greater sales, and increased loyalty (or so the thinking goes). But in 2020, a year of turmoil which robbed many businesses of their usual avenues of customer contact, excellence in customer experience was hard to achieve.

What can be learned from the brands and sectors that have managed to keep consumers happy?

Using Brandwatch Consumer Research, we analyzed 130 million public mentions of nearly 600 top brands in 2020. These English-language mentions were gathered from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, and review sites, and each contained first person pronoun words such as “I”, “I’ve”, or “I’m” that suggest a personal connection or experience with the brand being discussed. We also only included original posts or replies in our analysis, excluding shared posts or retweets.

This enabled us to examine:

  • Which sectors are generating the most positive customer experiences?
  • What are the dominant emotions consumers are sharing about brands in particular sectors?
  • What are the key drivers of positive and negative customer experiences across different sectors?
  • Which brands are best for CX as we head into 2021?
  • How has the pandemic impacted customer experiences across different sectors?

Which sectors are generating the most positive customer experiences?

Looking at sentiment-segmented data, we found that entertainment brands were generating the most positive mentions from the public.

Mentions of top brands grouped within airlines, pharma, health, energy, and telecoms sectors were more negative than positive.

This can be a helpful benchmark for those thinking about crisis management – some industries can expect higher rates of negativity than others.

What are the dominant emotions consumers are expressing about brands in different sectors?

Looking at emotion-categorized mentions, we see a fairly similar picture.

In the chart below you can see how consumers expressed emotions about brands in our sectors across 2020.

Entertainment came out on top for sparking joy, alongside hotels and retail.

Meanwhile, airlines, telecoms, and consumer tech sparked the most anger.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG), food services, and alcohol brands tended to attract the highest proportions of disgusted mentions. Pharma brands also scored fairly highly for disgust and had the highest percentage of fearful mentions of all the sectors we studied.

What are the key drivers of good and bad customer experiences across different sectors?

Let’s dive into our sentiment and emotion-categorized data a little more to discover what’s driving the conversation.

You can scroll down to read through the drivers for each of the 15 sectors we studied, skip to one in the list below, or skip to the best brands for customer experience 2021.

Which brands are best for CX as we head into 2021?

To determine which brands are doing best for CX, we found the brands which had at least 200k mentions that were categorized as joyful in 2020. We then worked out which of these had the highest percentage of joyful conversation compared to other emotions expressed by consumers.



Coming in third place is Amazon, a company that’s had an incredibly successful year as many turned to rely more on online shopping and the need for high quality entertainment in lockdown was pressing. Many joyful mentions related to Amazon Prime and associated services, and books were also a key topic of positivity.



Speaking of entertainment, second on our best brands for CX list is Spotify. The platform generated an immense amount of positivity throughout 2020, with people talking about the music they were listening to on the platform, sharing playlists, and also reacting to Spotify campaigns like 2020 Wrapped (in which people found out which artists they’d spent most time listening to that year). These campaigns are incredibly shareable, leading to widespread online advocacy for the music streaming platform.



Etsy tops our list as the best brand for customer experience. While the methodology is slightly different this year, Etsy also topped the list in last year’s best brands for CX report. How’s it done so well? There are a few reasons: Consumer behavior is very much in Etsy’s favor – increased online shopping is the most obvious, but there are some other trends coming through too. We found lots of people talking positively about face masks, an item that became essential in 2020 and that small Etsy sellers could easily create. Meanwhile, many people talked about supporting smaller businesses during the pandemic which is something Etsy really lends itself to. All these things together meant Etsy was able to generate a lot of positive consumer feedback online.


After a tough year, brands are finding their feet and learning about how to create new and improved customer experiences in a changed world. Some brands were lucky – they had both the technological set up to support demand, and the demand itself was there. For others, demand for their products and services waned in 2020 and they struggled to grapple with new technologies that could help them re-establish a connection with their customers.

In 2021, brands can learn from how consumers praised and punished them and their competitors in 2020 and put those learnings into action. In our latest Digital Consumer Intelligence in Practice Guide, Brandwatch Research Consultant Lauren Lachowsky explains exactly how brands can approach improving CX at their organization, plus practical tips and real brand examples.

Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.