It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to many that Apple customers are the happiest computer users – indeed, they’re widely mocked for extreme evangelism.
Researchers found almost nine in 10 Apple customers felt “pleased” about their computer purchase.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), released on Tuesday, shows that Apple’s received the highest ever rating given to a PC manufacturer for its devices, and that this applies even amongst first-time users who can’t possibly be described as fanboys.
The survey found that 86 percent of Apple users were happy with their purchase – the seventh year in a row that it’s topped the chart, and its highest score ever. It’s nine points ahead of any PC-based rival, although major PC vendors all also showed a rise in satisfaction levels.
“Windows-based PC brands appear to have recovered from the problems associated with the Windows Vista software,” said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI. “Barely a year into the release of Windows 7, satisfaction with these brands has returned to, and in some cases even surpassed, the levels prior to the launch of Vista.”
“This is a big deal because, as Forrester’s data shows, not everyone buying an iPad is an Apple loyalist. iPad owners and intended buyers are three times as likely as US online consumers in general to own a Mac – 27 percent versus eight percent, respectively – but still, three-quarters of them don’t own a Mac,” says Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman.
“Given that not all iPad buyers are Apple loyalists, the fact that the iPad is delighting its owners is very good news for Apple and very bad news for Apple’s competitors.”
Rotman suggests that Apple’s dominance in the tablet market will continue to increase.
“Think about it,” she says. “If you buy an iPad, and buy apps, the likelihood of you switching to a Samsung or Sony or HP tablet in a few years is very low – unless something happens to make apps interoperable, you will lose your – likely sizable – content investment. And Apple has the opportunity to wed the customer to its devices and content for a long, long time.”
Organisers of the Index said Apple had dominated in PC satisfaction in the index for seven consecutive years but this year set a new record for the culture-shifting California company.
Apple’s recent financial results seem to bear out a high level of satisfaction.
In its most recent quarter, the company sold 3.5 million Mac computers, a 33 percent increase from a year earlier.
Overall satisfaction with personal computers averaged 78 percent, the survey found.
The Windows-based models by Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard recorded a one percentage point below the average, according to the index.
“Nearly all brands showed increases in satisfaction and no manufacturer declined,” said Prof Claes Fornell, who led the research.
“Lower prices, better service, and an emphasis on new, smaller systems and a variety of portable PCs helped drive the improvement.”
Prof Fornell, the director of the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan, added that computers running on Windows operating systems “made large gains in the second year of Microsoft’s release of Windows 7”.