Ann Arbor, Mich. - Consumer electronics scored highest in customer satisfaction for the second consecutive year among 47 industries tracked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
CE, specifically TVs and Blu-ray Disc players, scored a chart-topping 85 on the index's 0- to 100-point scale, unchanged from last year, thanks to consumer perceptions of high-quality and price cuts on panels and BD players, ACSI's latest consumer surveys show.
CE has been a longtime leader in customer satisfaction, according to the research group, which measures customer contentment with more than 225 companies in 47 industries based on interviews with 70,000 consumers annually.
"Customers are upgrading to TVs that provide better picture quality, more features and save space, while the BD format is becoming more widely available and affordable," said ACSI founder Claes Fornell. "Clearly, customers are pleased with what this industry has to offer them."
In contrast, major appliances slipped 1.2 percent to score an 81 on the index, which ACSI still considers a solid grade. Each of the industry's three largest players saw some slippage in customer satisfaction, although the change for Whirlpool was minimal (-1 percent), which helped it solidify its lead over GE and Electrolux.
While Whirlpool's current score of 82 is not its best over time, the company has been much more consistent over the past three years than GE, whose customer satisfaction scores have been more volatile and dropped 3 percent this year to 79. Electrolux also trails Whirlpool and slipped 1 percent to 78, the lowest score for the manufacturer since its inclusion in ACSI in 2006.
Small majap makers fared better. The aggregation of "all other" appliance companies, including the Kenmore brand, gained 3 percent to an industry-leading score of 83, which was the highest level ever measured for the group.
Apple continues to lead the PC side of the survey. The home of the iPad, iPhone and Mac OS computers earned a score of 87 in 2011, up 1 point from 2010. However, it is nine points ahead of its closest competitor, Hewlett-Packard.
ACSI noted that Apple has dominated its category for the past eight years and during that time the company's stock prices has grown 2,300 percent.
Overall customer satisfaction in the PC category was stagnant with an overall score of 78. The HP brand along with its Compaq sub-brand each gained one point in the survey, landing at 78 and 75 respectively. The customer satisfaction scores of Toshiba, Lenovo and Sony remained unchanged in 2011 at 77.
The satisfaction scores have proven to be strongly related to a number of key micro and macroeconomic indicators, ACSI said, including corporate earnings, stock returns, consumer spending, and gross domestic product growth. The index was developed at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.