NEW YORK: Amazon, USAA and Trader Joes are three of the leading brands which US consumers are most likely to recommend, new research has revealed.

Satmetrix, the specialist software company, asked 30,000 shoppers how probable it was that they would recommend some 200 brands, drawn from 22 sectors, using the Net Promoter Score.

This system takes the percentage of "promoters" awarding goods and services a rating of nine points or more on a ten-point scale, then subtracts the share of "detractors" giving out totals of six points or below.

Amazon easily led the online retail segment, on 76%. Turning to bricks and mortar chains, Trader Joes and Wegmans tied on 73%, while Costco registered 71%.

Further chains receiving impressive ratings included Belk and Nordstrom, securing 66% apiece. Sears, by contrast, only generated 35%, thus trailing many of its competitors.

Elsewhere, USAA dominated the rest of the banking industry on 83%, the best figure of any featured brand. However, seven firms in this sector had negative scores, with Wachovia performing worst, on -15%.

USAA also claimed pole position for auto and home insurance on 74% and 71% in these areas respectively. State Farm headed the life insurance charts on 28%.

Health insurers found the going more difficult, on an average of 4%. This amount actually fell to zero if Kaiser Permanente, the best performer, on 33%, was excluded.

When discussing technology, Apple, the electronics group, posted 71% for its computer hardware, making it the strongest operator. Its software applications also logged 68%, the analysis revealed.

Looking to online services, Google recorded a net figure of 56%, retaining top spot in the category from last year. Surprisingly, Facebook received a modest 31%, down by 21 percentage points on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, Virgin America won the airline contest on 66%, ahead of JetBlue on 64%. Marriott was the leading hotel chain with 56%, just beating Hilton's 55%.

Verizon led the cable and satellite segment on 37%, a status assumed by US Cellular in the mobile phone services sector, on 38%.

Data sourced from Satmetrix; additional content by Warc staff