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issue: August 2011 ApplianceMagazine.com


Appliance Buyers Choose Brand First, Retailer Second


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Increasingly, U.S. appliance buyers choose the appliance brand they want first – then choose a retailer that carries their brand of choice.

New studies from J.D. Power and Associates – the 2011 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study and J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study – rank the brands that give customers the most satisfaction, as well as reveal new trends in appliance buying behavior.

Increasingly appliance buyers choose the appliance brand they want first – then choose a retailer carrying that brand, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study.

J.D. Power reported that the extent of this shift in shopping behavior varies slightly by appliance type. The largest increase was seen among owners of ranges, cooktops, and ovens, with about 44% of these owners in 2011 saying they selected their appliance brand first. This measure is up 6% from 2010. The smallest increases occur in clothes dryers and refrigerators, up 4% each from 2010.

"The wide array of product information available, particularly from online sources, makes it easier than ever for appliance shoppers to do research prior to making a purchase," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Online ratings, for example, are becoming increasingly influential among many appliance shoppers."

The reports also found that those who do the online research and choose their brand before choosing a retailer end up much more satisfied with their appliance than owners who don’t.

The owners who say they did their research before visiting a retailer had satisfaction averages that were 20-34 points higher on a 1,000-point scale. Satisfaction among owners who select the appliance brand before visiting a retailer averaged 14-29 points higher than satisfaction among owners who selected the retailer first, then chose a brand carried by the retailer.

Despite the changes in shopping behavior, traditional sources of shopping information – such as the owner’s past experience with a brand, in-store product displays, and recommendations from salespersons - continue to be very influential.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Appliance Mystery Shopping Report showed that many of the appliance brands that receive high overall satisfaction scores also receive particularly strong recommendations from salespeople. The recommendations can significantly impact brand choice and market share, especially when the salespersons offer compelling reasons for the recommendation.

Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study

The Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with clothes washers and dryers based on performance in six factors:
• ease of use
• features (such as the usefulness of settings available and appliance capacity)
• performance and reliability (including energy efficiency, noise level, and how well the appliance functions)
• styling and appearance
• warranty
• price

Clothes Washers

Samsung – for the third year in a row - ranked highest in satisfying clothes washer owners. Samsung's score was 834 and did especially well in ease of use, styling and appearance, and price.

LG ranked second with a score of 827 and scored especially well in the warranty factor.

Kenmore Elite ranked third with a score of 825 and scored well in the features factor.

The industry average score for clothes washers was 783.

Clothes Dryers

Samsung also ranked highest in customer satisfaction with clothes dryers – the fourth year it was in the top spot. Samsung scored 830 and did particularly well in four of the six factors: ease of use, styling and appearance, features, and price.

Whirlpool Duet scored 829 and LG scored 823.

Mystery shoppers reported that LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool washers and dryers are recommended most often by salespersons at major U.S. appliance retailers.

The industry average score for clothes dryers was the same as washers: 783.

Kitchen Appliances Study


The Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction in three product categories:
• refrigerators
• dishwashers
• cooktops/ranges/ovens

Customer satisfaction is measured based on performance in six factors:
• performance and reliability (including how well the appliance functions, noise level, and energy efficiency)
• features (such as the usefulness of settings available and appliance capacity)
• ease of use
• styling and appearance
• price
• warranty

Refrigerators

Sub-Zero scored 834 and ranked highest in terms of satisfying refrigerator owners. Sub-Zero did especially well in five of the six factors: ease of use, performance and reliability, styling and appearance, features, and warranty.

Samsung ranked second with a score of 820. LG ranked third with a score of 790.

Mystery shoppers reported that Samsung receives particularly high recommendation rates from major appliance salespeople.

The industry average score for refrigerators was 759.

Dishwashers

Miele scored 814 and was the top-ranked brand in customer satisfaction with dishwashers for a second year in a row. Miele performed particularly well in performance and reliability and warranty.

Fisher & Paykel scored 805 to claim the second spot. Kenmore Elite was third with a score of 802.

Mystery shoppers said Kenmore dishwashers receive notably high rates of recommendations from salespeople.

The industry average score for dishwashers was 760.

Cooktops/Ranges/Ovens

LG and Wolf share top cooking appliance ranking, tying in points at 804 each. This is the second year in a row at the top spot for Wolf.

GE Monogram was the next-highest ranked cooking appliance brand with a score of 801.

Mystery shoppers said appliance salespeople provide high rates of recommendations for GE ranges.

The industry average score for cooking appliances was 774.

 

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