J.D. Power and Associates Mobile Study Reveals High Marks for Apple & HTC; Social Media and Gaming Lead the Mobile Revolution

Earlier today, J.D. Power and Associates released their 2012 mobile market study, which focuses on customer satisfaction for both traditional mobile and smart phone devices. The study reveals some not so surprising numbers – however it does end up sharing some interesting information as to consumer activity.

The study measures manufactures in several key categories. In order of importance, the key factors for overall satisfaction pertaining are: Performance (33%); Physical design (23%); Features (22%); and Ease Of Operation (22%).

According to the study, for the eighth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieved a score of 849 (out of a 1,000) and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and ease of operation. HTC placed in second with a score of 790. Mobile market leader Samsung actually placed below the study average (783) with a score of 782. Motorola was not close behind with a score of 777. Nokia, LG, RIM, and Palm round out the study in that order respectively.

For traditional (non-smart phones), the rankings follow a similar format. LG and Samsung quickly round out the top of that list, but important to note is that Apple and HTC have no presence in this market. Interestingly enough, Motorola is second to last in these rankings, behind lesser brands such as Sanyo and Pantech. This may be a sign of Motorola’s lack of interest in this space, with Google intending to eventually have their subsidiary focus exclusively on the smart phone market at some point in the future.

The study also shows a strong connection between customer satisfaction and the integration of social media/gaming in today’s mobile market. The study found that customers who regularly use mobile versions of social media and gaming applications are more satisfied with their device and spend more per month for wireless service than customers who do not. In 2012, 67 percent of smartphone customers indicate they have downloaded social networking applications on their device and report spending more than 100 minutes per week using those applications. Overall smartphone satisfaction among customers using social networking applications is 810 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 55 points higher than among smartphone customers who do not. Additionally, 69 percent of smartphone customers indicate they have downloaded gaming applications and spend an average of 81 minutes per week playing games. Satisfaction among customers using gaming applications is 61 points higher than among those who do not (813 vs. 752, respectively).

The Press Release also shows the following key points of interest:

  • 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.

These numbers truly paint a picture of how the mobile market has transformed, and more importantly, has grown to become an integrated critical aspect of consumers’ lives. With an upcoming iPhone 5 launch and more manufactures trying to steal market share from one another, it appears the mobile industry’s future is bright.

J.D. Power and Associates Study – Press Release

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