More Tablets Mean Less Satisfaction

As more and more tablets enter the market (and more and more consumers use them), overall satisfaction with the devices is dropping. 

According to J.D. Power Associates’ latest U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study, consumers’ overall satisfaction with tablets has dropped 18 points since the inaugural study in 2012 (835 in 2014 vs. 853 in 2012, on a 1,000-point scale). Such a drop in satisfaction levels is common as a category matures, says Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power. 

“Most of the [first-round of] tablets were high-end or at least high-priced. Now we’re finding more value-priced tablets in the marketplace,” Parsons tells Marketing Daily. “It changes the dynamic of people’s expectations of how these devices should work. We see it in the auto industry as well; we have different expectations for a Ferrari than a Chevy Spark.”

Meanwhile, Apple -- which makes some of the priciest devices -- ranked highest in overall satisfaction with a score of 830 (performing high in all categories except cost), followed by Samsung, which had a score of 822, and had above-average scores in feature, styling and design and cost categories.

The good news for consumers is that the average purchase price of tablets has decreased $53 since 2012 ($337 in 2014 vs. $390 in 2012), and the lower price is factoring more into consumers’ purchase decisions. In 2014, one-quarter (25%) of tablet owners cited price as the main reason for selecting their current brands, compared with 21% in 2013. Features offered and brand reputation were the next top factors (22% and 21%, respectively).

The frustrations, however, have been surrounding expectations about how simply the device should operate, even at a lower price-point. The largest declines in satisfaction came in the categories of navigation (8.30 in 2014 vs. 8.52 in 2012, on a 10-point scale) and adjusting settings (8.30 vs. 8.50). Consumers also report longer initial set up times (64 minutes, compared with 55 minutes in 2012) as they navigate more features and pre-loaded apps. All of these factors can be attributed to rising consumer expectations as the market matures, Parsons says. 

“As the services and features start to improve, people have higher expectations in the past,” Parsons says. “The impact is the devices need to continue to work, and they need to work better.”

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