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J.D. Power: Appliance Warranties Become More important to Buyers
Jul 18, 2013
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U.S. customer satisfaction with major appliances is still driven mostly by performance and reliability, but major appliance warranties have become grown in importance in recent years, according to the latest major appliances studies by J.D. Power.

The company's two studies measure customer satisfaction in five major home appliance segments:
* clothes washers
* clothes dryers
* dishwashers
* cooking appliances (cooktops, ranges, and ovens)
* refrigerators

Six customer satisfaction measures are made in the study:
* ease of use
* features (including capacity and the usefulness of available settings)
* performance and reliability (including appliance function, noise, and energy efficiency)
* price
* styling and appearance
* warranty

Satisfaction Trends

Study results show that that product-specific factors continue to drive satisfaction with kitchen appliances in 2013, but the importance of price and warranty increased this year.

Warranty and ease-of-use had a larger impact on satisfaction with laundry appliances in 2013 than in 2012.

The length and scope of the appliance warranty contributes about one-tenth to overall customer satisfaction across all major appliances, and has increased by nearly 2 percentage points in the last three years.

In laundry appliances there has been a similar increase in the importance of ease-of-use. This factor is the second most-important driver of satisfaction in 2013 and represents about one-fifth of the overall customer experience.

In kitchen appliances price has increased in importance by 2 percentage points and comprises about 15 percent of overall customer satisfaction in 2013.

Laundry Appliance Satisfaction: Washers

Samsung ranked highest in customer satisfaction with clothes washers in 2013, marking the fifth consecutive year taking the top spot in this appliance category. Samsung's score was 822 on a 1,000-point scale. Samsung washers performed particularly well in three factors:
* performance and reliability
* ease of use
* price

No. 2 in the Washer rankings was LG, scoring 818. No. 3 was the Kenmore Elite brand, scoring 816. The top-three ranked washer brands, along with the Whirlpool brand (No. 4) and the Electrolux (No. 5) brand, all scored above the industry average for washers.

Laundry Appliance Satisfaction: Dryers

LG ranked highest in customer satisfaction in clothes dryers, with a score of 821. LG performed especially well in:
* performance and reliability
* ease of use
* styling and appearance
* features
* warranty.

Samsung ranked No. 2 in clothes dryers with a score of 820.

Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction: Refrigerators

Sub-Zero scored 817 to regain the No. 1 spot in the customer satisfaction list for refrigerators. It also held the spot in 2011. Sub-Zero did especially well in:
* ease of use
* performance and reliability
* styling and appearance
* features
* warranty.

Kenmore Elite scored 807 to take the No. 2 ranking in refrigerators.

Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction: Dishwashers

The Sears Kenmore Elite brand, scoring 812 in dishwashers, ranked highest in customer satisfaction on this list. Kenmore Elite brand had especially high scores in:
* ease of use
* styling and appearance
* features
* price

Whirlpool's KitchenAid brand ranked No. 2, with a score of 803. Bosch (801), Miele (788), and LG (783), and Samsung (764) all scored above the industry average.

Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction: Cooking Appliances (Cooktops/Ranges/Ovens)

The Sears Kenmore Elite brand scored 819 to secure the No. 1 ranking in the customer satisfaction study, making it the second year that the brand held the top spot.

The brand performed especially well in:
* ease of use
* performance and reliability
* features

Wolf ranked No. 2 with a score of 810. Samsung ranked No. 3 with a score of 808. Ten total brands scored above the industry average customer satisfaction score.

J.D. Power's 2013 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study was based on more than 7,800 evaluations from customers who purchased clothes washers and/or clothes dryers in the last 24 months. The study was fielded in January and February 2013.

The 2013 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study was based on more than 4,000 evaluations from customers who bought dishwashers in the last 24 months; more than 3,900 evaluations from buyers of cooktops/ranges/ovens in the last 24 months; and more than 4,500 evaluations from those who bought fridges in the last 24 months. The study was fielded in January and February 2013.

Christina Cooley, director in the home improvement industries practice at J.D. Power, pointed out that there is a general tightening of scores among the highest-ranked appliance brands. While individual brands have their own strengths, she noted, "There are a number of brands delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Cooley added, "In this extremely competitive environment, brands that have already proven themselves through their products will likely be able to further differentiate through their relationships with their customers, as demonstrated through their warranty, and ultimately providing a consistent and strong value message that incorporates both the product and long-term relationship with customers."

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