Is Apple Helping This Tech Relic Make a Comeback?



In a country where virtually every hand appears to be holding a smartphone or tablet, Americans are most satisfied with their desktop computers, especially ones made by Apple. However, that does not necessarily mean the relic is making a comeback.

A new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) finds that customer satisfaction is higher for desktop computers than laptops and tablets. The annual measurement of satisfaction for desktops rose 3 percent to a score of 81 out of 100, compared to laptops that sank 4 percent to 76, and tablets that fell 1 percent lower to 80. Among all categories in the report, televisions are the highest scoring products with an index reading of 86.

The report notes that, “Mobile computing devices, like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, have adversely affected demand for desktop PCs, as consumers postponed replacing older desktops in favor of mobile platforms. But declining user satisfaction and cooling demand for tablets suggest that manufacturers have not kept up with consumer expectations. Growing satisfaction with desktops and weakening satisfaction for tablets and laptops might present an opportunity for manufacturers to exceed buyer expectations with innovative desktop PCs — but only smaller manufacturers are succeeding in this regard, as all of the largest PC makers deteriorate.”

Apple, the world’s most valuable company by market share, was once again the leader in desktops with its Mac lineup. Apple’s satisfaction dipped 3 percent to 84, but that was still well ahead of Acer and Dell, which both had index readings of 78. Hewlett-Packard’s satisfaction plunged 8 percent this year to 74, placing it at the bottom of the category. Apple has been the leader in satisfaction in the desktop category for the past ten years, although smaller manufacturers such as Samsung, Lenovo, and Asus are narrowing the gap.

Does this mean desktops are making a comeback in our increasingly mobile world? Not exactly. “The increase in customer satisfaction for PCs could mean two different things,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI Chair and founder. “Either the product is seen as more attractive now and is poised for a comeback, or it has higher customer satisfaction simply because those who were less than happy with it have moved to other devices. If dissatisfied customers leave and satisfied customers stay, average satisfaction may well go up.”

Follow Eric on Twitter @Mr_Eric_WSCS

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