2021 Smiling Report - Press Release

Let’s take a step back in time to 2020 and our Smiling Report.

PRESS RELEASE dd June 15th, 2021

(download - press release as pdf file)

Global research: progress in the greetings according to this year's Smiling Report survey on a sample of 516 296 reports in 25 countries.

The Greeting and Smile increased, Add-on Sales decreased in 2020 compared to the previous year.

2020 was a year that we’ve never experienced before. No one could ever have forecast the difficulties we would face on a personal and business level. We recognise that times were tough for many. In troubled times, the importance of making a connection, and making a difference to someone’s day, became very apparent. Those businesses that connected with their customers, showing empathy and appreciation for their custom, had real impact. It is in this context that we’re delighted to publish the 2020 Smiling Report

MSPA Europe/Africa has released the 2021 Smiling Report in cooperation with Better Business World Wide, the 17th year the report has been published. The Smiling Report consists of data from around 29 million mystery shopping evaluations, collected since 2004, and is compiled from information supplied by Mystery Shopping Providers in Europe, Asia/Pacific, North America and South America. The report analyses customer service data from evaluations conducted across a whole spectrum of industries. All information is gathered by mystery shoppers from professional mystery shopping companies that are members of MSPA, the trade organization for mystery shopping professionals. The 2021 report provides a summary of answers to questions focusing on Smile, Greeting and Add-on Sales metrics on a sample of 516 296 reports from 25 countries during 2020.

Overall 84,2 % (2019; 81,0 %) of customers received a smile, 86,3 % (2019; 75 %) were greeted, while 50,2 % (2019; 68 %) received an additional sale suggestion. The aggregated scores were increase for smiling +3 and for greeting +11 compared to 2019. This year we are seeing a significant increase in greetings, which is probably the impact of educating employees about alternative methods of physical gestures towards customers that have been significantly reduced during the pandemic. Historically, add-on sales data has always had a lower score than Smile and Greeting (average 2004-2019 is 52%) which proved to be the case this time as well, but showed a score decrease by -18 compared to 2019 from 68 % to 50,2%.


A smile is a powerful and incredibly simple tool in sales. It has been proven that a smiling face can enhance consumer joy and increase brand appeal. Therefore, in mystery shopping, special attention is paid to this indicator.

  • Russian Federation, Canada (96%), Lithuania, Latvia (95 %) and Czech Republic (93%) had the highest Smiling scores, followed by Poland with 92%.
  • Lowest Smiling scores were in Serbia (63%), Marocco (54%) and Hong Kong (60%).
  • Largest increase compared to last year is in Slovenia, by +15 to 77%, and Hong Kong +13 to 73% and Russian Fedeartion +12 to 96%.
  • Largest decrease compared to last year has been in Slovakia by -13 to 75%
  • As last two years, North America is the highest scoring continent, with 90%. The lowest scoring continent was Asia/Pacific at 73%.
  • Highest scoring industry is B2B with 100% followed by Health&Beauty (91 %) and Hospitality (87 %). Transport is lowest with 77%, a increase with +32 compared to 2019.


Greeting is the most important thing you can do well ... or wrong.

The best sellers make a difference by developing positive customer relationships that start with a friendly greeting.

A real greeting will make customers feel welcome and appreciated. While a friendly welcome can increase sales and customer loyalty.

  • Russian Federation and Hungary attained the highest score with 95% Greeting, followed by Czech Republic with 94%.
  • The lowest Greeting scores were Greece with 69%, and Morocco with 72%. %.
  • Russian Federation increased their Greeting score with +26 to 95%, Hong Kong increased by +21 to 79% and Estonia +18 to 91%.
  • Several countries have shown a significant decrease in score since 2019, ie. Spain by -19 to 94% and Greece -12 to 81
  • North America was the best performing continent with 87%, and Africa the lowest with 72%. Asia/Pacific increased their score by 14 to 80%.
  • Government and Hospitality were the industries with the highest Greeting score at 92%. Retail was the lowest scoring industry with 85%, a increase of +15.

Add-on Sales

Additional sales can represent significant revenues and profits for the company. It is also a significant indicator of proactivity and employee engagement. Additional sales can help the seller to establish a better relationship with the buyer and adjust the offer to his needs. This in turn increases customer satisfaction, allows retailers to build trust and ensure customer return to the store.

  • Russian Federation scored 73%, Denmark 73%, followed by Puerto Rico 70 % and Spain with 69 % and Hungary with 65%.
  • At the very bottom we find Cyprus, this year down to 19%, followed by Greece with 28% and Bulgaria at 38%.
  • The biggest improvement in Add-on Sales was made by Denmark, +28 to 73% followed by Hungary +15 to 53% and Canada +15 to 52%.
  • The countries that saw their score decline the most (-15) were USA to 56% , United Kingdom to 61.# The highest scoring continent was Asia/Pacific with 65% and the lowest scoring continent was Africa with 50%. Europe increased their score by 19 to 69%.

In any case, taking into account all the results of this research, we can conclude that we are on the right track in achieving a positive customer experience. Of course, in addition to the above indicators, there are a number of complex and specific indicators that are essential for sales success in various industries. Emphasis is placed on these indicators because they are universal for all industries and are also fundamental indicators for starting a successful sales approach.

In these challenging times, the emphasis is on maintaining the business and it is especially important to attract and retain every customer. Greetings, a smile, a kind word… this is the minimum that we should definitely provide and progress in the direction of world leaders, because it is a small but significant difference that we can all really make.

Major interest worldwide

The Smiling Report is used by the business community, media, governments and students all over the world. Access to the data is free of charge, however we would appreciate a contribution to our nominated charity,, so we can achieve more smiles in the world. We are happy to include press clips on the Smiling Report website, and we look forward to receiving your articles and links to publications. All languages are welcome! To see the list of participating mystery shopping providers in each country, or request login details, please visit


Anyone can use the data from The Smiling Report in any publication, digital or printed, provided they include a reference that the report is managed by MSPA Europe/Africa and Better Business World Wide. 

You can access all detailed reports at
For more information about the Smiling Report please contact Bernarda Blazek at or Veronica Boxberg Karlsson at
To search for mystery shopping providers go to 


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