Westlake Village, Calif. — Samsung’s French door and side-by-side refrigerators ranked highest in a new study of kitchen appliance customer satisfaction from market research firm J.D. Power and Associates.
Samsung led the pack in the fast-growth configuration for a fourth consecutive year, performing particularly well in four of six factors: operational performance, ease of use, styling and feel, and operational features. Sub-Zero and Kenmore Elite, respectively, followed Samsung in the segment rankings.
Kenmore Elite ranks highest in top-mount refrigerators, followed by Whirlpool Gold and GE Profile.
In dishwashers, Bosch ranked highest in customer satisfaction for a third consecutive year, performing especially well in the areas of styling, ease of use and operational performance (including dishwasher noise level and energy efficiency). Following Bosch in the rankings were Kenmore Elite and LG.
In cooking, Whirlpool Gold ranked highest in freestanding ranges, followed by LG and Kenmore Elite, while LG ranked highest in built-in cooktops and wall ovens, ahead of KitchenAid and Kenmore Elite
The study also found that ease of use became more important than price in driving satisfaction this year, indicating that appliance brands that have controls and displays that are easy to use are increasingly distinguishing themselves from competitors.
“The fact that price is becoming less important to consumers may reflect that owners are willing to purchase a more expensive appliance in order to obtain greater functionality and value over the life of their machines, which can span between 10 and 15 years,” said Dale Haines, real estate and construction industries practice senior director at J.D. Power.
Other key findings from the study:
· Energy efficiency is a more important driver of satisfaction among dishwasher buyers than among owners of other types of kitchen appliances.
· Owners of side-by-side and French door refrigerators are more likely to report a problem than top mount owners.
· Twenty-six percent of side-by-side and French door owners purchased an extended warranty, compared with 17 percent of top-mount owners.
The 2008 Kitchen Appliances Study is based on responses from 14,782 consumers who purchased one or more new kitchen appliances through a retail store or their new-home builder, or received one through other means (such as a gift) during the previous 24 months. The study was fielded between June and July 2008. Complete rankings are available here.