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American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI

Quality Insider

Are PCs Poised for a Comeback?

Desktop customer satisfaction surpasses tablets and laptops

Published: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 15:27

Customer satisfaction with computing devices continues to slide but desktop computers do better than laptops and tablets, according to a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The annual measure of personal computers falls 1.3 percent to an ACSI score of 78 (on a 0–100 point scale). Laptops deteriorate the most (-4% to 76), while tablets dip slightly (-1% to 80), but desktops gain 3 percent to take the lead at 81.

The ACSI Household Appliance and Electronics Report 2014 includes three durable product categories: household appliances; personal computers (including desktops, laptops, and tablets); and televisions and video players. While PC satisfaction slips, televisions become the highest-scoring category in the Index with a 1.2 percent rise to 86 and household appliances remain stable at 80. The full report is available on the ACSI website.

User satisfaction surges for smaller PC makers

Mobile computing devices, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, have adversely affected demand for desktop PCs, as consumers postponed replacing older desktops in favor of mobile platforms. But declining user satisfaction and cooling demand for tablets suggest that manufacturers have not kept up with consumer expectations. Growing satisfaction with desktops and weakening satisfaction for tablets and laptops might present an opportunity for manufacturers to exceed buyer expectations with innovative desktop PCs—but only smaller manufacturers are succeeding in this regard, as all of the largest PC makers deteriorate.

Apple drops 3 percent to 84, but maintains a sizable lead over its major competitors, which it has held since 2004. Nevertheless, companies with a smaller market share, such as Samsung, Lenovo, and Asus, are closing in, up 8 percent to an ACSI score of 82. The large Windows-based manufacturers do not fare well. Dell declines 4 percent to tie Acer at 76, followed by Toshiba (-4% to 75). Hewlett-Packard plunges 8 percent to the bottom of the category at 74.

“The increase in customer satisfaction for PCs could mean two different things,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. “Either the product is seen as more attractive now and is poised for a comeback, or it has higher customer satisfaction simply because those who were less than happy with it have moved to other devices. If dissatisfied customers leave and satisfied customers stay, average satisfaction may well go up.”

Click here for larger image.

Customers find GE appliances less satisfying

Household appliances are one of the most consistent categories for customer satisfaction. The overall ACSI score for manufacturers of washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges, and ovens is stable at 80. This is a high score, but for individual manufacturers it also implies a lack of differentiation and low pricing power.

Market-share leader Whirlpool tops the industry again with an ACSI score of 81. This year Whirlpool ties the aggregate of smaller manufacturers, including LG, Samsung, and Bosch. Electrolux (+1% to 79) recovers some from a big drop last year, and is replaced by GE in last place after GE falls 4 percent to a company all-time low of 77.

“The sharp decline in customer satisfaction for GE raises some concerns now that the company has agreed to sell its appliance division to Electrolux,” says ACSI director David VanAmburg. “The acquisition will make Electrolux much bigger—rivaling Whirlpool for market share—but in light of GE’s weak customer satisfaction, it is questionable whether it will make the new entity better.”

Televisions and video players earn top rating for customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction with televisions and Blu-ray or DVD players improves 1.2 percent to an ACSI score of 86, an all-time high for the category that is also the best among all industries tracked by the ACSI. Lower prices and “smart” technology have propelled big-screen TVs in particular to the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

For more information, visit the ACSI website.


About The Author

American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI’s picture

American Customer Satisfaction Index ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and produced by ACSI LLC, is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. The national index is updated each quarter and scores on a zero-to-100 scale at the national level. The ACSI produces indexes for 10 economic sectors, 47 industries, more than 225 companies, and more than 200 federal or local government services.