Battery Life Woes Drag Satisfaction Down
All those complaints about battery life are weighing on consumers’ satisfaction with their devices.
According to the latest J.D. Power and Associates Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, battery performance satisfaction has declined significantly even in the six months since the last study was released in September 2011 (6.7 on a 10-point scale in 2012, compared with 6.9 in 2011).
The satisfaction levels are lowest among owners of 4G-enabled smartphones, where the battery performance ratings were 6.1 on the 10-point scale, compared with those of 3G-enabled phones, where satisfaction levels averaged 6.7. According to the study, the difference correlates directly with the 4G phones' use of battery life searching for scarcer next-generation signals. People who have 4G-enabled phones do more with their devices, which also drains the batteries faster, according to the findings.
Also, says Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power, the 4G devices expend more battery power searching for the next generation signals, which are scarcer than 3G signals.
“There’s a lot of education that carriers and manufacturers need to do,” Parsons tells Marketing Daily. “And as the 4G LTE coverage becomes more pervasive that problem should go away to some degree.”
Nevertheless, battery life satisfaction correlates directly with brand affinity, which underscores a sense of urgency in improving overall battery performance. Of the owners who were satisfied with the battery performance of their 4G-enabled phones (rating them 10 on 10-point scale), a quarter said they will “definitely” make another purchase from the phone manufacturer. Among those who were less satisfied (with ratings of 7-9 on the 10-point scale), only 13% said the same.
All that said, even Apple’s well-publicized battery problems (although the company doesn’t make a 4G device) haven’t kept it from the top spot among smartphone manufacturers. Apple received a score of 839 on a 1,000 scale, ranking particularly high in ease of operations and features. HTC followed Apple with a score of 798.
“What they’re all about is ease of use and intuitive use,” Parsons says. “There’s still a decent enough gap between the [battery] satisfaction and ease of use and intuitiveness … That gap between an iPhone and an android device gives you a sense of how far away the competition is.”
Elsewhere in the study, 70% of smartphone owners said they accessed social networking sites on their devices, and nearly three-quarters (72%) said they have the ability to download and view video or movies. Only 21% said they have had software or device malfunctions. Among those who say they’ve experienced crashes at least once a week, satisfaction levels average only 691 on the 1,000-point scale.