Satisfaction is measured in several key factors. In order of importance, the key factors of overall satisfaction with traditional wireless handsets are: performance (29%); ease of operation (26%); physical design (24%); and features (21%). For smartphones, the key factors are: performance (33%); physical design (23%); features (22%); and ease of operation (22%).
For the eighth consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 849 and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and ease of operation. HTC (790) follows Apple in smartphone rankings.
LG ranks highest in the Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study with a score of 726. LG performs well in all four factors.
The studies also find the following key wireless handset usage patterns and purchase trends:
● The cost of a traditional wireless mobile phone averages $56, compared with an average of $66 in 2011. The decline is primarily due to discounts provided by handset providers and wireless service carriers to incentivize sales. Currently, 44 percent of customers report having received a free mobile phone when subscribing to a wireless service.
● Features have become less of a differentiator in the smartphone selection processes due to an influx of competitive offerings from newer manufacturers. Nearly one-half (47%) of customers this year indicate they chose their smartphone primarily because of particular features, such as a camera, the operating system, or social media integration or gaming capabilities, compared with 57 percent just one year ago.
● Nearly one-fifth (19%) of customers this year primarily chose their smartphone based on price, compared with 14 percent a year ago. This may be driven by offers of free or heavily discounted devices from wireless carriers, as 22 percent of customers indicate their smartphone was free, an increase from 18 percent a year ago.
● Nearly two in 10 current smartphone owners report experiencing a software or device malfunction. Malfunctions have a significant impact on overall satisfaction, a gap of 90 points between customers who experience software malfunctions and those who do not (799 vs. 709, respectively). Additionally, satisfaction among customers who indicate their device's software crashes at least once a week averages 663.
The study is based on experiences reported by 8,736 smartphone owners and 6,272 traditional mobile phone owners. Both studies were fielded between January and June 2012.