/ SAcsi

SA consumers less satisfied with laptops in line with international trend

Over 1300 South African consumers gave laptop consumers a customer satisfaction score of 75.1 out of 100 in the latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) released today. The score is four points lower than last year.

The laptop brands included in the index were Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Lenovo and Samsung, selected by market share. Dell emerged as the industry leader, whilst all the other brands reported satisfaction scores on par with the industry average.

“There is little differentiation amongst the various laptop brands from a customer satisfaction point of view and only one brand scored higher than the industry average,” says Prof. Adré Schreuder, founder and chair of the SAcsi.

The data for this release was collected between April and June 2014 using both telephonic and web-based surveys. Each one of the brands recorded a lower satisfaction score than last year.

“The proliferation of tablets has probably contributed to the decline in customer satisfaction as it has in the USA,” explains Prof. Schreuder. “Before tablets came on the scene, laptops received higher user satisfaction ratings than desktops because at that stage, the laptop was the tablet. But now, the laptop falls between the traditional set-up of a desktop and the ‘carry-everywhere’ tablet. For the industry, the next wave could come from products that bridge the gap by marrying the functionality of the desktop with the ease of use and portability of the tablet.”

Relative to the international ACSI scores, South Africa’s laptop industry score is slightly lower than that that of the USA (79) which serves as the international benchmark.

Schreuder expressed concern about the relative lack of differentiation among the top brands. “Price sensitivity appears to be a major influence as brand loyalty is relatively low in this industry. If we follow the trend in the USA, we may just see a surge of satisfaction with PCs as customers feel that their expectations are not being met by laptops and tablets,” he said.

When compared against other industries, laptops had a relatively low rate of complaints. Specific grievances raised by South African customers included a short battery life, hard drive and hardware problems, screen issues and freezing or slow machines.

About the research methodology

Each company was measured through telephonic and web-survey methods at a statistically reliable sample of at least 200 respondents per company. For the laptop industry the total sample was 1361 randomly selected respondents who recently purchased a laptop of the included brands. Customer satisfaction is measured using an advanced statistical model that has been rigorously evaluated, in line with the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology.

“The fact that companies are choosing to subscribe to SAcsi to receive statistically sound information speaks volumes about the credibility of the index. This is not research that is commissioned for marketing purposes, it is used as the basis for strategic management decisions,” says Schreuder.

SAcsi holds a licence with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), and forms part of a growing number of ACSI-licensed partner countries worldwide, which allows South Africa to compare its industries’ customer satisfaction with this global community.