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Apple Slips, Samsung Gains In Satisfaction Rankings

Samsung has closed the gap with Apple in terms of American consumers' satisfaction level with their smartphones.

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The American Customer Satisfaction Index has updated its rankings of smartphone makers, and the report shows that Apple is losing ground to rival Samsung.

The rankings are updated once a year. In the last 12 months, Apple has released only the iPhone 5, while Samsung managed to release both the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S 4, in addition to myriad other devices. Apple held the top spot in 2012, with 83% of American consumers saying they were satisfied with Apple's iPhone. Apple is still the top smartphone maker on the list, with an 81% satisfaction ranking, but it dropped 2 percentage points. The index doesn't specify reasons behind the changes.

Samsung edged up significantly year-over-year, from a 71% satisfaction rating in 2012 to 76% in 2013. Where Apple previously had a comfortable 12% gap over its competitor, it's now ahead by only 5%. Samsung's devices have begun to win over the American buying public, not just in sales, but in overall satisfaction with Samsung's brand as well.

[ Is Microsoft's smartphone gaining marketplace momentum? Read Windows Phone Steals Third Place From Blackberry. ]

Motorola was another big mover. In 2012, 73% of consumers were satisfied with Motorola's smartphones; this year, 77% were. Motorola released several phones during the fourth quarter of 2012, including the Droid Razr M, Razr HD, and Maxx HD, all of which have incredible battery life, good screens and excellent cameras.

Nokia managed to gain a smidge, seeing its satisfaction ratings increase from 75% to 76%. Lumia devices are the only Nokia smartphones counted in the index.

"The improvement [of Samsung] is the largest yet for any cell phone manufacturer, and earns Samsung a position even with the industry average and Nokia and just behind second-place Motorola," reads the report. "Nevertheless, Samsung remains well behind industry leader Apple."

The news isn't as good for LG or HTC, both of which saw a decrease in satisfaction. HTC's rating dropped from 75% to 72%, while LG's dropped from 75% to 71%. It seems consumers didn't care as much for the smartphones made by HTC and LG during the last 12 months. Considering HTC's precarious position in the market, that's another warning sign for the company. The change for LG is somewhat surprising, however. It delivered some of its best-ever devices during the fourth quarter of 2012, including the Optimus G and the Nexus 4.

BlackBerry ranks last among the big smartphone makers, but at least its rating didn't drop further. It scored a satisfaction rating of 69% in both 2012 and in 2013. BlackBerry didn't churn out any major new phones in 2012 and only released the Z10 in February of this year. The Q10, which looks to be the device that will make or break BlackBerry's comeback bid, wasn't included in the rankings this year because it isn't yet available.

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User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2013 | 6:41:35 PM
re: Apple Slips, Samsung Gains In Satisfaction Rankings
Part of the reason that Samsung's rating has improved has been that Android itself .as improved tremendously. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) saw an increase in usability and stability and to a large degree made the Galaxy S3 juggernaut possible, Google followed-up immediately with an Android update to 4.1 (Jelly Bean) which added even more to the mix. Furthermore, Android is beginning to look like the embedded platform of choice for a variety of smart consumer and possibly industrial devices, so those who are comfortable with (and like) Android will be more likely to choose Android in a connected TV or other device utilizing smart platform technology. Samsung obviously realizes this and has leveraged both their Galaxy brand and the platform to the point where the two are virtually synonymous.

If the 'Internet of Things' ever develops into what pundits predict, Samsung and Android will very likely be in most of the smart devices on the planet.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
5/22/2013 | 6:18:20 PM
re: Apple Slips, Samsung Gains In Satisfaction Rankings
It's notable that Apple lost ground. But it's also notable that Apple is still well above the ~77 nationwide average for all industries included in the study. The competitors are making gains, but based on this report, I think Apple's customer service record is still in a class of its own.

Michael Endler, IW Associate Editor
User Rank: Apprentice
5/22/2013 | 2:28:15 AM
re: Apple Slips, Samsung Gains In Satisfaction Rankings
"The change for LG is somewhat surprising, however. It delivered some of its best-ever devices during the fourth quarter of 2012, including the Optimus G and the Nexus 4."

I just bought an Optimus G about two weeks ago. This phone is GREAT! Amazing display, very good battery life, Android 4.1.2, 1.5GHz krait quad core CPU and 2GB of RAM AND a microSD card. HTC's problem is HTC. They create a work of art like the One and then turn around an release the First. What a joke. I thought the whole idea was to double down on the One line of phones. As for LG, the Optimus Pro is getting great reviews and the G2 is coming as well as the next Nexus I believe.

I think that drop in satisfaction for both companies has nothing to do with the G and the One but older and other devices.
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