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Samsung squeezed past Apple in consumer

satisfaction for smartphones

Apple may have owned Christmas, but Samsung won the first half of the year when it came to
satisfying shoppers with its phones. The latest stats from the American Consumer Satisfaction
Index, which surveys 70,000 consumers every year, show Samsung slightly beating out Apple by
two points with a satisfaction score of 81. Sure, it's not a huge lead, but it's a big jump for the
company from last year's score of 76. Apple, meanwhile, saw its score fall more than two points
since last year. It's always tough to read much into these numbers (was it the Galaxy S5 that
helped, or just Android improvements?), but it's still a decent win for Samsung. Don't be surprised
if Samsung ends up marketing the heck out of this during the Super Bowl.
It's not as if we didn't see this coming, either. Samsung also trounced Apple in smartphone
consumer satisfaction in the middle of last year (before the release of the iPhone 5s). ACSI's
overall satisfaction stats for 2013 still showed Apple leading Samsung by five points, but the two
were neck and neck for much of the year. J.D. Power's satisfaction survey for 2014 ranked
Apple as the leading smartphone brand for all major carriers, but even then, Samsung wasn't far
behind.
So what does all of this really mean? Some shoppers might have been more intrigued by
Samsung's Galaxy S5 than the iPhone 5S, which was Apple's flagship phone at the time of this
survey. The S5's water-resistant case was ideal for the accident-prone, and it offered one of the
first great cameras on an Android device. The battle for our affection from both companies will
only be a good thing for consumers. It'll make them both focus on delivering devices that are
actually useful, rather than just meaningless spec upgrades.
(Update: An earlier version of this article referenced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the data was
actually based on a survey from May 2014, before those phones were released. We regret the error
and have updated the post.)

Samsung beats Apple in latest customer


satisfaction survey
Despite being knocked off their laurels over the past few years by Android and the
manufacturers that make them, Apple has always taken pride in a few different
things. Revenue, day-one sales, adoption rates of new platforms theyll spew
those numbers at you in a New York minute during a keynote speech.
One of those things they like to tout is that they are often the recipient of customer
satisfaction awards from the likes of J.D Powers and other consumer trust groups. Will
that be the case in the next top survey in the industry? Tough to say, but the
American Consumer Satisfaction Indexs latest poll suggests Apple has been taken
down a notch.
The company fell from its previous satisfaction rate of 81 down to 79, with the drop
likely being attributed to #Bendgate and a perceived notion that Apples reputation
for superior build quality has taken a hit. We all know #Bendgate affected far fewer
people than the voices on the internet would lead you to believe, but that vocal
minoritys cries reached a lot of ears and we wouldnt be surprised if it had a
significant impact.
But even more of a story is that not only has Apple dropped, but Samsung has taken
a considerable climb. The company has come up from their previous score of 76 to
81, effectively trumping Apple to become the top smartphone manufacturer in terms
of customer satisfaction.
To hear most Android fans tell it, Samsungs use of plastic and an uninspiring design,
coupled with the companys oft-maligned TouchWiz interface, are the sole downfalls
of Samsung. Its true that the company has taken a major sales hit in 2014 so
much so that executives have agreed to take paycuts in the midst of structural
changes but that doesnt mean there arent a ton of people who love them some
Samsung.
This is good news for the South Korean company headed into 2014 as they are
expected to introduce their biggest iteration of the Galaxy S line yet. We expect a
metal unibody build and a refined user interface for Android 5.0 Lollipop while still
maintaining the cutting edge features Samsungs known for. Theyll just have to hope
its enough to turn satisfaction into sales to prevent any more bleeding. Hit the
source link for the full rankings.

Samsung finally passes Apple, thanks to a


strong year of growth in customer
satisfaction; iPhone satisfaction is down
4% since 2012
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) -- a market research spinoff
of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business -- has emerged as one of
the leading independent customer satisfaction barometers in the U.S. market. It
has a strong reputation owing to integrity; it is careful to avoid the kind of payola,
payouts, and personal bias that are sadly all too common in the world of
consumer satisfaction rankings.
I. Apple Falls Again
Every year the ACSI conducts a study of smartphone satisfaction by OEM. This year's
results are sure to provoke some crowing from fans of Google Inc.'s (GOOG)
Android operating system and some grumbling amongst fans of Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL)
iPhone.
Traditionally the iPhone was the top in the satisfaction ranking. Last year it
reported that 81 percent of customers said they were satisfied with their iPhones, a
drop from a high of 83 percent satisfaction in 2012. This year's survey, though, saw
Apple continue to slowly slip, reaching 79 percent satisfaction.
That slippage was enough to allow Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KRX:005930)
(KRX:005935) -- the top smartphone seller by volume globally -- to pass Apple for
the first time in customer satisfaction. Samsung Electronics, whose smartphones
almost exclusively use Google's Android OS, was at 74.4 percent last year -- well
behind Apple. But this year it jumped 6.6 percent to reach an 81 percent approval
rating.
Samsung has struggled a bit on the sales front. While the Galaxy S5 sold
modestly, it yet again failed to reignite the explosive growth seen by early
Galaxy smartphones. And the Galaxy Alpha was an outright flop, selling so
poorly that Samsung pulled the plug this week.

Apple is still neck and neck with Samsung and it can celebrate a roughly 10
percent jump in market share with the release of the iPhone 6/6+, according to
information from the Kantar World Panel. That increase allowed it to cement its
lead as the top OEM by volume in the U.S., the world's most valuable market.
II. Galaxy Note II and iPhone 5C Top Satisfaction Ranking
That said, Apple is no longer in a league of its own in terms of satisfaction. The ACSI
numbers are the latest sign that Samsung's brand -- long second-fiddle to
Apple's -- is at last coming into its own, likely as the hard-fought fruit of its
years of labor on the sales front. Samsung's come a long way since 2004, when
ACSI collected its first numbers. Back then Samsung had only a 70 percent approval
rating.
Samsung's ascent was perhaps foretold by last year's July 2013 survey, which
saw the Galaxy S III and Note II smartphones beating out the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5
in satisfaction rankings. (The Samsung Galaxy S III earned the highest marks.)

This year's phone model ranking, conducted in May, showed the Samsung Galaxy
Note II phablet/smartphone continuing to beat the iPhone in satisfaction. The year
old Samsung device managed to top even the then-latest-and-greatest iPhone
5S.

Interestingly, the Note II outperforms the Note 3 substantially in satisfaction (85


percent versus 81 percent). Also interesting, is that while it has sold poorly at
times, the iPhone 5C is the best-rated iPhone in terms of customer satisfaction (84
percent satisfaction).
III. BlackBerry Also is a Big Winner for the Year
Samsung's patient rise gives hope to other OEMs that performed well in this year's
rank, but weren't quite at the top. The Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) owned Nokia Devices unit -purchased from Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) -- was tied for third place with 77 percent satisfaction (up 1
percent from last year's 76 percent). Also in third was Google subsidiary Motorola (up 4 percent from 73 percent
in 2013). Motorola is now operating as a brand of China's Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992).

Overall satisfaction rates among smartphone users was 78 percent (heavily weighted
by Samsung and Apple's strong performance, as they make up nearly 4 in 5 sales in
the U.S., roughly).
In sixth place, below that average, was BlackBerry, Ltd. (TSE:BB) with a 74 percent
satisfaction rating. In sixth place -- just behind BlackBerry -- was LG Electronics,
Inc. (KRX:066570)(KRX:066575) who saw 73 percent satisfaction (up 2 percent
from last year's total of 71 percent).
Overall BlackBerry might actually be happy with this result, given how much the
brand has been battered in recent years.
For 3 in 4 BlackBerry users to be happy with their devices suggests that
BlackBerry's restructuring and attempt to get back to the brand's roots is

seeing success. Indeed last year BlackBerry only had a 69 percent satisfaction
rating. A year-on-year gain of 5 percent in satisfaction puts BlackBerry in a similar
league as Samsung in reputation growth.

Source: ACSI [press release]