Five out of five for the iPad, says JD Power

Madeleine Swain
8 May, 2014
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Slightly lower sales of iPads may have been the one negative about Apple’s recent 2nd quarter earnings call, but the tablet is still getting plenty of love elsewhere. Global market research company JD Power has just released its 2014 Tablet Satisfaction Survey and, for the third consecutive time, the iPad comes out on top with a total score of 830 out of 850, which translates to five out of five. The iPad was the only tablet to do this.

Competitor brands like Samsung, Asus and Amazon also cracked the 800 mark (equalling three out of five), while Acer could only stump up a 769 for an overall two out of five. Overall, satisfaction rates took a hit in JD Power’s third annual report since it began the initiative in 2012. This the company ascribes to the prevalence of cheaper models in the marketplace. As the prices go down, so do the levels of customer satisfaction.

“Price has significantly impacted the marketplace,” said telecommunications service director of JD Power, Kirk Parsons, in a press release. “The average purchase price continues to drop and consumer expectations of tablet performance and features are different than they were for past products. Subsequently, overall satisfaction has declined, especially with ease of operation, as navigation features and functions have changed.”

Yet price is still the overriding factor when it comes to the purchasing decision. The market research company revealed that in when it came to making this decision, 25 percent of shoppers cited price as most important, with 22 percent swayed by the features and 21 percent claiming it was the tablet maker’s reputation that persuaded them to part with their cash. But curiously they don’t start out that way.

“Before the purchase, at home, 50 percent of consumers said they relied on brand reputation to help drive their brand purchase decision – an increase from 42 percent just six months ago. But they apparently change their tune somewhat dramatically once they enter the store,” notes PC World‘s Mark Hachman.

In a reflection of this, prices have fallen. Over the last three years, the average cost of a tablet has actually gone down by US$53, according to JD Power’s figures. In 2012 the average price was US$390 and now it is just US$337.

Other takeouts from the Satisfaction Study include:

  • Overall satisfaction has decreased by 18 points to 835 on a 1000-point scale in 2014 from 853 in 2012. The largest decline in satisfaction is in the ease of operation factor, with substantial decreases in two attributes over the three-year time frame: navigation (8.30 versus 8.52, respectively, on a 10-point scale) and adjusting tablet settings (8.30 versus 8.50, respectively).
  • It’s taking longer for tablet owners to perform the initial set-up on their devices in 2014 than three years ago, as more features and pre-loaded apps are included with the device. In 2014, the average time for initial tablet set-up is 64 minutes, compared with 55 minutes in 2012.
  • Prior to purchasing a tablet, 50 percent of consumers rely on brand reputation to help drive their brand purchase decision – an increase from 42 percent just six months ago. Manufacturer websites (47 percent) and recommendations from friends, family members or colleagues (46 percent) are key drivers of brand purchase choice.

“The 2014 US Tablet Satisfaction Study – Volume 1 is based on experiences evaluated by 2513 tablet owners who have owned their current device for less than one year. The study was fielded between September 2013 and February 2014. The study measures satisfaction 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)” JD Power.com.

AppleInsider notes that JD Power caused a bit of controversy late last year, when it ranked Samsung’s tablets higher than the iPad, simply based on cost, even though the Apple tablet scored higher on every other count – design, performance, ease of use and features.

The iPad’s triumph in this latest survey should smooth some feathers ruffled by that earlier report.

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