smartphone researchSmartphone pricing is becoming more important to buyers as the smartphone technological playing field has leveled, according to Volume 1 of the J.D. Power 2014 Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study. Just over one-fifth (21 percent) of smartphone owners cited price as the main reason they chose to purchase a particular smartphone, up from 13 percent in J.D. Power’s 2011 study.

AT&T ranked tops among U.S. telecompetitors in terms of smartphone-device customer satisfaction, scoring 844 out of a possible 1,000 points. Sprint ranked second at 839, T-Mobile third at 835, and Verizon Wireless fourth with a score of 829.

Overall satisfaction among smartphone owners totaled 837, according to a J.D. Power press release, with Apple ranking highest among smartphone OEMs among Tier 1 wireless carriers.

“Over the past three years, wireless OEMs have focused on advanced technology and features to edge out the competition, however, with such similar technology across carriers and devices offered, price is becoming a key component in the selection process,” Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power, was quoted as saying.

“To get ahead of the competition and satisfy customers, manufacturers must meet the expectations of customers, ensuring the features they want next are intuitive and rewarding. Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit individual needs is essential to providing a high-quality and positive wireless experience.”

Additional highlights of J.D. Power’s latest study include:

  • While smartphone owners continue to cite “features” as the primary reason for selecting their device (35%), the rate has declined significantly from the 2011 Vol. 2 study (57%).
  • Reasons for purchase have an impact on customer satisfaction and future loyalty. Selecting a smartphone device based on price generates significantly lower levels of satisfaction (808 on a 1,000-point scale) and repurchase rates (18%) than selections based on product-specific reasons such as operating system (860 and 35%, respectively).
  • In 2014, the average purchase price for smartphone devices has increased and owners are less likely to receive a discount. On average, smartphone owners indicate that their device cost $202 in the 2014 Vol. 1 study, an increase from $174 in the 2011 Vol. 2 study. More than half (52%) of owners have received a discount on their smartphone in 2014 Vol. 1, compared with 60 percent in the 2011 Vol. 2 study.
  • When asked which features they would like on their next device, smartphone owners most often cite seamless voice control (36%); built-in sensors that can gauge temperature, lighting, noise and moods to customize settings to the environment (35%); and facial recognition and biometric security (28%).

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