The American Customer Satisfaction Index issued a new report about customer satisfaction with personal computers and other electronics devices:
ANN ARBOR, Mich., [September 21, 2010]—Customer satisfaction improves for major
household appliances and is at or near all-time highs for personal computers and big-
ticket consumer electronics such as televisions, according to a report released today by
the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Amid recent news of weak durable
goods growth and the continued uncertainty of the housing market, the ACSI results may
provide a glimmer of hope for future demand for these durable products.
“In order for demand to rebound, consumers must exhibit an increased desire to spend
and have the means to do so,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The
Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference. “ACSI data
suggest that for durables, the first condition has been met in the form of higher customer
satisfaction. Whether this will translate into increased consumer demand will depend on
positive movement in the factors that impact the means to spend: employment, wages
and access to credit.”
Personal Computers: Apple Dominates Amid Industry-Wide Improvement
Satisfaction with personal computers surges 4.0% to match the all-time industry high of
78 on the ACSI’s 0 to100-point scale. Apple gains 2% to 86, its highest score ever. This
marks the seventh straight year that Apple leads all other PC makers, and the 9-point gap
between Apple and its nearest competitor is the largest in ACSI.
Many Windows-based machines also improve and no brand declines. Dell improves 3%,
while Acer (Gateway and eMachines) and the HP division of Hewlett-Packard both rise
4%, forming a three-way tie at 77—well behind Apple. These companies are joined by
the aggregate of all smaller PC makers, such as Sony and Toshiba, which gains 4% to 77.
“Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered from the problems associated with
the Windows Vista software,” said Fornell. “Barely a year into the release of Windows
7, satisfaction with these brands has returned to, and in some cases even surpassed, the
levels prior to the launch of Vista.”
PC makers have benefited overall from better customer service, although this service
continues to lag far behind other durable goods industries. PC owners who had reason to
contact customer support are 8% less satisfied than those with no post-purchase contact
with the manufacturer or retailer.
Major Appliances: Whirlpool Maintains Lead, but GE Catching Up
Customer satisfaction with major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers,
and washers and dryers improves 1.2% to 82, matching a 10-year high. Whirlpool is atop
the industry, unchanged at 83. 2010 marks the fifteenth year in a row that Whirlpool has
had at least a share of the industry lead. GE closes the gap with Whirlpool, gaining 5% to
81 and rebounding from a big drop last year. GE’s climb ties the manufacturer with the
aggregate of all smaller appliance makers, which improves 3% to 81. Electrolux rounds
out the industry, unchanged at 79 and matching a five-year low.
Consumer Electronics Rise to All-Time High
Satisfaction with home electronics such as televisions and DVD or Blu-ray Disc players
increases 2.4% to 85, the best-ever score for the category and the highest level of
customer satisfaction for any ACSI industry thus far in 2010. Greater affordability has
made these products more attractive. For the first time, prices for some flat-screen TVs
have fallen below $500. Prices for DVD and BD players have dropped as well,
translating into better value for money, with a positive effect on customer satisfaction.