PCs and TVs received high marks from consumers in a report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The ACSI Household Appliance and Electronics Study for 2021-2022, based on interviews with more than 9,000 consumers, rates a range of products on a scale of zero to 100.
Customer satisfaction with TVs is “sky high,” the ACSI noted in a news release, pulling down a score of 80.
“Televisions — and consumer electronics more broadly — have long been one of the more satisfying industries measured in ACSI,” said ACSI Director of Research Emeritus Forrest Morgeson.
“When you consider the never-ending wave of technological innovations being introduced in the industry, along with steadily decreasing prices for these goods — recent inflation notwithstanding — it is not hard to understand why,” Morgeson, who is also an assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University, told TechNewsWorld.
It’s not surprising that overall consumer satisfaction with TVs is so high, added Mark N. Vena, president and principal analyst with SmartTechResearch in San Jose, Calif.
“For almost a decade, TVs with embedded ‘smart’ interfaces have been gaining in overall share, allowing users to change settings more easily and intuitively, as well as access content in an effortless fashion via an ‘app’ orientation,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Consumer satisfaction is up because TVs have been easier to use.”
Streaming programming has also contributed to consumer satisfaction with TVs. “With TVs embracing streaming, they have become far more capable over time, and they are, in terms of appliances, relatively problem free,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Ore.
“With Streaming, the TV is again the center of in-home entertainment, and people seem to be pleased with the improvements over time and aren’t that concerned about premature obsolescence,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Desktops Outscore Laptops, Tablets
PCs, which includes desktops, laptops and tablets, also scored high on the index with a 79. Among the form factors, desktops, at 80, scored higher than laptops and tablets, which both posted 79s, although the tablet satisfaction number was three points higher in 2022 than in 2021.
“It is a little surprising that PCs recorded higher customer satisfaction than laptops and desktops,” Morgeson said. “Of course, it is important to note that PCs have far less market share relative than the other two, and the consumers of PCs are different consumers looking for different features and functionality in their computers. These different needs likely explain a large amount of the gap across the product types.”
Neither Vena nor Enderle, though, were surprised by consumer satisfaction with desktops.
“Tablets and laptops are often used in punishing mobile settings that make them more prone to accidental damage,” Vena explained. “Because of their fixed nature, desktop PCs — especially all-in-one models — have a stronger reliability perception because they don’t move around.”
“Desktops typically don’t have to be carried, can have as big a screen as you can afford, have fewer connectivity issues, and don’t have battery life issues,” Enderle added.
Apple Tops in Popularity
Among PC makers, Apple had the highest customer satisfaction rating with an 82, although Samsung finished a close second with an 81.
“Apple PCs have long been popular with their customers, and have often outperformed other PC makers,” Morgeson said.
“For many years,” he continued, “this popularity was driven by the niche market Apple carved out, appealing to web and graphic designers. More recently, the strong popularity of the Apple iPhone, and its seamless integration with Apple’s PCs — like the MacBook — has drawn in a wider group of customers who have come to really like the product.”
Apple is the leader in overall consumer satisfaction because they control the total hardware and software “stack,” Vena explained.
“That allows Apple to manage the overall user experience in a much tighter and cohesive manner, which is something that Microsoft can’t do because it relies on an OEM model,” he said.
“Apple products tend to ‘just work’ because they are not as open, generally speaking, as Microsoft-based products from a third-party peripheral and device standpoint,” he continued.
“Microsoft tends to focus significantly more on backward compatibility with devices that enterprise customers demand,” he added.
Stellar Customer Service
Customer service is another way Apple charms customers. “Apple has great service,” observed Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in Campbell, Calif.
“Over the last 20 years, they’ve developed a top-notch service model that includes physical service at the Apple stores and Genius Bars,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“When you have an issue with an Apple product, you know how to get it dealt with,” he continued. “It has a great online service for handling issues and if you’re in a city with an Apple Store, you can make an appointment with the Genius Bar and 90% of the time, it will help you take care of the problem.”
“That’s a really big differentiator for Apple,” he said. “None of the other companies have the same kind of network to handle customer service the way Apple does.”
By contrast, the surveyors found that satisfaction with Microsoft’s software dropped four points, to 73.
“Microsoft offers a wide array of very different software solutions to its customers, and so it’s hard to attribute their decline to any one software product,” Morgeson said.
“Yet,” he continued, “the increasing availability of competitive alternatives for many of their products — including low- or no-cost apps now available to consumers — is likely impacting consumer perceptions with software offerings overall.”
LG Leads Household Category
“Microsoft’s bread-and-butter apps like PowerPoint, Outlook, Word and Excel continue to gain new features that creates the perception of bloat that doesn’t necessarily help ease of use,” Vena added.
Then there’s Windows 11. “Satisfaction generally drops when a new OS comes out because people don’t like upgrading even though the process has improved significantly over the years,” Enderle said.
The survey also showed consumer satisfaction with major household appliances — washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves — climbed slightly year-over-year by one point to 79. LG Corp. led all companies in the household category, jumping three points to 81.
“Our performance in the 2022 ACSI rankings indicates that LG is an innovative brand that provides products and features with true consumer benefits, but more importantly, without sacrificing product quality,” said LG Vice President of Home Appliances Product Management Brandt Varner.
“As we continue to listen to the customer and prioritize their recommendations, our product quality remains our principal focus so that consumers know their LG appliance will offer outstanding performance with their needs in mind,” he told TechNewsWorld.