Design, Connectivity Are Reasons Apple Reigns

Collage-Ipad-IphoneEditor's Note: This week, Marketing Daily brings you exclusive coverage of the Brand Keys 2012 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. Each day, expect a full report on key product/services categories from among the 83 surveyed for this year’s study, including automotive, electronics, retail and technology. This second installment focuses on highlights from the consumer electronics (including smartphones and tablets) and video entertainment categories.

Design and connectivity. Those are the two factors people are looking for when it comes to their consumer electronics, and those two factors do a lot to explain why Apple is at the top of nearly every category it’s in.

“All of the values that are related to design or connectivity are going through the roof,” Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, tells Marketing Daily. “Right now, [Apple] comes out on top in virtually every category they play in. We don’t even look at MP3 players anymore [because of them.].”

In Brand Keys’ 2012 Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), Apple once again tops the laptop, smartphone and tablet categories (as one would expect given the brand is one for which people line up for days to be the first to own the latest and greatest), but the iPad also comes in third among e-readers (up from fifth last year and leapfrogging Sony and Kobo), which Passikoff notes is not even a primary selling point for the tablet.

“The ability for the brand to extend the aspects of design and connectivity literally spreads out all over the place,” he says. iTunes even ranks second in the video rental and video streaming categories, ahead of Amazon, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Should Apple extend its dominance into the television market (latest rumor: 2013), it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for it to move to the top of those lists as well.

Beyond Apple, the CLEI lists point to some companies that could be in real trouble. BlackBerry (though admittedly more of a business brand and a consumer brand) continues to struggle in the smartphone category. (“Unless they get their act together, they’re going to end up like Nokia,” Passikoff says.) HP, which famously put its tablet entry on fire sale over the summer, didn’t even register in the tablet category. And Netflix’s very public missteps this summer benefitted Blockbuster, a company many had given up for dead.

“Netflix stepped on themselves all over the place, to the point where they lost their lead,” Passikoff notes. However, counting the company out in the category would likely be a mistake, given its lead in deals with studios, networks and production companies. “The issue regarding variety and selection is the top driver in the category. That’s creating brand value.”

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