iPad Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction: J.D. Power

Apple's iPad tablet performs well in four factors, including performance, ease of operation, styling and design and features.

Apple’s popular line of iPad tablets ranks highest among manufacturers of tablets in overall owner satisfaction, the second consecutive first-place finish for the device, according to a J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study.

Now in its second year, the study measures tablet owner satisfaction among those who have owned their tablet for one year or less. Satisfaction is measured across five key factors (in order of importance): performance (26 percent), ease of operation (22 percent), styling and design (19 percent) features (17 percent) and cost (16 percent).

Apple achieved a score of 836 and performed well in four factors, including performance, ease of operation, styling and design and features. Amazon’s Kindle tablet family, which scored 829, closely follows Apple in the rankings and performs particularly well in the cost factor. The study average was 828, with tablets by Samsung (822), Asus (818) and Acer (784) rounding out the top five.

The study found that 51 percent of tablet owners share their device with at least one other person. While the incidence differs across brands, tablet manufacturers may benefit from promoting shared usage as a selling point, as satisfaction increases when more people use one tablet device. When a tablet is only used by one person, overall satisfaction is 824 (on a 1,000-point scale), 28 points lower than when a tablet is shared by four or more persons (852).

Tablet owners who also have a smartphone spend 36 percent more time browsing the Internet on their tablet than on their smartphone, and more than a quarter (27 percent) of tablet owners say they are likely to buy a new tablet within the next 12 months, compared with 37 percent in 2012. The vast majority (94 percent) percent of highly satisfied tablet owners said they are likely to purchase additional consumer electronic devices from the same manufacturer.

"It is somewhat unexpected to find that although 64 percent of tablet owners were the sole decision-maker involved in their device purchase, many of them share their tablet with someone else," Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a statement. "It is important that manufacturers understand this dynamic and try to provide an exceptional experience for all users since this may improve future business prospects, as high satisfaction through sharing a tablet device may result in owners handing down their tablet to a family member or friend, and the likelihood of repurchasing a new tablet from the same brand and running the same operating system increases."

Tablets are also being used for business activities, with 20 percent of owners indicating they use their tablet for this purpose. While tablet owners are beginning to engage in business activities with their device, just 31 percent of employers contribute to the price or reimburse their employees for the entire tablet purchase price, a 3-percentage-point decrease from 2012. The report noted this may be an indication that some companies may be promoting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy.