Customer satisfaction across three durable goods industries stalls in 2011, with the majority of companies staying almost exactly where they were in 2010, according to a report released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The report covers customer satisfaction with personal computers, major appliances, and electronics (televisions and BD/DVD players).

Apple Sets a High Bar
One year after climbing 4% to a record-high score of 78 on ACSI’s 0 to 100-point scale, customer satisfaction with personal computers flattens out. The industry itself is in a state of rapid change, with technology advances accelerating amid shifts in consumer preference. As the demand for traditional desktop PCs weakens, the tablet computer market is skyrocketing—led by Apple’s iPad.

Apple’s record of customer satisfaction preeminence in the personal computer industry continues unabated in 2011, as the company adds another point to its already exceptional score. At 87 (+1%), Apple outdistances its nearest competitor by 9 points.

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“In the eight years that Apple has led the PC industry in customer satisfaction, its stock price has increased by 2,300%,” remarks Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference, in the press release. “Apple’s winning combination of innovation and product diversification—including spinning off technologies into entirely new directions—has kept the company consistently at the leading edge.”

Among Windows-based PC makers, not much has changed over the past year. The two Hewlett-Packard brands—Compaq and HP—see only incremental gains (+1%) in 2011. At 78, HP outperforms last-place Compaq at 75, and customer satisfaction for both brands is higher now than at any time since the HP-Compaq merger in 2002. But HP’s market share is increasingly threatened by tablet computers, and the company may soon abandon the PC market altogether. Dell, Acer and the aggregate of all other brands (such as Toshiba, Lenovo and Sony) are sandwiched in between the two HP product lines, with no progress this year as evidenced by unchanged ACSI scores of 77.

American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) - Personal Computers - 2011
ACSI releases industry results monthly and updates the national index quarterly. Baseline measurements are from the summer of 1994.

MacDailyNews Take: Secretariat at The Belmont followed at a great distance by a bunch of mediocre nags choking on the dust of greatness.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. Results are released on a monthly basis with all measures reported using a 0 to 100 scale. ACSI data have proven to be strongly related to a number of essential indicators of micro and macroeconomic performance. For example, firms with higher levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to competitors. Stock portfolios based on companies that show strong performance in ACSI deliver excess returns in up markets as well as down markets. And, at the macro level, customer satisfaction has been shown to be predictive of both consumer spending and gross domestic product growth.

The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI LLC.

More info here.

Source: ASCI LLC

MacDailyNews Take: Most Windows PC sufferers don’t know any better. Their version of satisfaction is something no Mac user would tolerate for a second.

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