Brand image does seem to indeed matter when it comes to tablets.
That’s the finding of J.D. Power’s most recent study on the device, which discovered that consumers are less likely to comparison shop if they use a tablet manufactured by a company with a strong brand image.
The “2016 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study—Volume 2,” now in its fifth year, measured customer satisfaction with tablets across five factors (in order of importance): performance (28 percent), ease of operation (22 percent), features (22 percent), styling and design (17 percent), and cost (11 percent). The study was based on experiences evaluated by 3,511 tablet owners who have owned their current device for less than one year. Satisfaction was calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
The study was fielded between March and August 2016. The Volume 1 version of the study was conducted six months ago.
According to the study, 56 percent of customers considered a brand of tablet other than what they ultimately purchased. While overall satisfaction is not significantly different between customers who did and did not consider multiple brands (825 vs. 831, respectively), those who did not consider multiple brands rated their brand higher in most image attributes, said J.D. Power.
Consumers who did not consider multiple brands rated their brand 6.2 (on a 7-point scale) in Bad Reputation vs. Good Reputation. This compares with a score of 6 for those who considered multiple brands.
Companies that are able to capture this multiple-brand-considering consumer are better positioned to reap higher levels of advocacy, according to J.D. Power. These particular customers made an average of 5.9 positive recommendations about their tablet brand during the previous six months, compared with only 4.7 positive recommendations among those who did not consider multiple tablet brands, it said.
“Winning over customers who consider multiple brands requires appealing to their desire to get a good deal since they are especially price sensitive and tend to pay about $24 less for their tablet than those who do not consider multiple brands,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, media and telecom practice leader at J.D. Power. “However, brands with a strong lineup of tablet offerings are in a more favorable position to satisfy the needs of consumers interested in upgrading their existing tablet. Brands minimize the need to shop around when customers have a satisfying device experience, thereby leading to increased brand loyalty, recommendations and repurchase intent.”
More than one-third (37 percent) of customers who consider multiple tablet brands are 18 to 34 years old, while that age group accounts for only 20 percent of those who do not consider multiple brands. An interest in new technology also plays a role: 26 percent said they “strongly agree” that they enjoy reading about new technology vs. the 16 percent who said the same but do not consider other brands.
Other facts culled from the study:
• Apple, with a score of 839, ranked highest in overall satisfaction and highest in all factors except cost.
• Microsoft (825) ranked second, performing particularly well in the features and in the styling and design factors. Samsung followed with a score of 823.
• Overall customer satisfaction with tablet devices is 820, an increase of 4 index points from the Volume 1 study.
• Lower price was the most commonly cited reason for tablet selection among customers who considered multiple brands (24 percent vs. 17 percent who do not consider multiple brands). Past experience, meanwhile, was the most commonly cited reason for tablet selection among customers who didn’t consider multiple brands (30 percent vs. 22 percent who consider multiple brands who said the same).
• Customers who consider multiple brands were more likely to have multiple devices on the same OS as the tablet they purchase, compared with those who didn’t consider multiple brands (55 percent vs. 48%, respectively).
• Apple had the lowest incidence of customers who considered another brand (43 percent). Microsoft and Samsung, which both performed above average in overall satisfaction, carried percentages of 68 percent and 59 percent, respectively.