Appliance Owners Put Premium On Ease Of Use

appliances J.D. Power and Associates says the top appliances in consumer satisfaction are Bosch, Kenmore Elite, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool Gold.

The firm's 2008 Kitchen Appliances Study, based on responses from 14,782 consumers surveyed in June and July, gives Bosch highest marks for dishwashers for the third consecutive year. For the fourth year, Samsung ranks highest in satisfying customers with side-by-side and French door-style refrigerators. Sub-Zero and Kenmore Elite follow Samsung in the segment rankings.

Kenmore Elite ranks highest in the freezer-on-top refrigerator category, followed by Whirlpool Gold and GE Profile.

Whirlpool Gold wins for freestanding ranges, which contain both a range and oven that are not built into a kitchen countertop. LG and Kenmore Elite follow. The firm says that while price was critical to customer satisfaction in recent years, this year ease of use became more important, with consumers favoring brands with easy-to-use controls and displays.



The study also found that energy efficiency is a more important driver of satisfaction among dishwasher buyers than among owners of other types of kitchen appliances.

Meanwhile, the credit freeze-up is not only jamming home and auto sales, it is also having an effect on the sales of new major appliances. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) reports that appliance shipments have been heading south throughout the year.

Per the association, shipments of the so-called AHAM Six--washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens--were down 10.2% in August, and 8.1% for the first eight months of the year. Shipments of electric ovens plummeted 25% in August, and were off over 17% in the first eight months. Home laundry appliance shipments were off 10.6% through August and 5.1% year-to-date. Refrigerator shipments fell 7.8% in August alone, and shipments of dishwashers fell 16.9%. Freezers, microwaves, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers were the only appliances that saw positive numbers in August, and freezers were the only appliances at all that saw positive shipments in the first eight months.

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