Laundry and Kitchen Appliance Owners Are Increasingly Seeking Brands First, Retailers Second

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Samsung Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Clothes Washers and Dryers; Miele Ranks Highest for Dishwashers; Sub-Zero Ranks Highest for Refrigerators and LG and Wolf Tie for Cooktops, Ranges and Ovens
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 3 August 2011 -- Increasing proportions of home appliance owners say they choose which appliance brand to purchase first, then visit a retailer carrying that brand, rather than selecting the retailer first, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction StudySM and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study,SM both released today.  
The extent of this shift in shopping behavior varies slightly by appliance type. For example, the largest increase is observed among owners of ranges, cooktops and ovens. Approximately 44 percent of these owners in 2011 say they selected their appliance brand first, up six percentage points from 2010. The smallest increases occur in the clothes dryer and refrigerator segments, which are up by four percentage points each from 2010.
"The wide array of product information available, particularly from online sources, makes it easier than ever for appliance shoppers to do research prior to making a purchase," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Online ratings, for example, are becoming increasingly influential among many appliance shoppers."
In addition, appliance owners who research appliance brands and/or select an appliance brand prior to visiting a retailer are notably more satisfied with their appliance than owners who don't. Among owners who say they researched appliance brands prior to visiting a retailer, satisfaction averages between 20 points and 34 points higher on a 1,000-point scale (depending upon the type of appliance) than among owners who didn't perform prior research. Satisfaction among owners who select the appliance brand prior to visiting a retailer averages between 14 and 29 points higher than satisfaction among owners who selected the retailer first, then chose a brand carried by the retailer.
Although shopping behavior is evolving, the study also finds that more traditional sources of shopping information--the owner's past experience with a brand, in-store product displays and recommendations from salespersons--continue to be very influential among appliance owners.  According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Appliance Mystery Shopping Report,SM many of the appliance brands that receive high overall satisfaction scores also receive particularly high proportions of strong recommendations from retail salespersons. These recommendations can significantly impact brand choice and market share, particularly when salespersons provide compelling reasons for the recommendation.
Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study
The Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction with clothes washers and dryers based on performance in six factors: ease of use; features (such as the usefulness of settings available and appliance capacity); performance and reliability (including energy efficiency, noise level and how well the appliance functions); styling and appearance; warranty; and price.
Clothes Washers
For a third consecutive year, Samsung ranks highest in satisfying clothes washer owners, achieving a score of 834. Samsung performs particularly well in three of the six factors: ease of use; styling and appearance; and price. Following Samsung in the ranking are LG (827) and Kenmore Elite (825). LG performs particularly well in the warranty factor, while Kenmore Elite performs well in the features factor.
Clothes Dryers
Samsung ranks highest in customer satisfaction with clothes dryers for a fourth consecutive year with a score of 830, and performs particularly well in four of the six factors: ease of use; styling and appearance; features; and price. Whirlpool Duet (829) and LG (823) follow Samsung in the ranking. Whirlpool Duet performs particularly well in the performance and reliability and features factors.
According to mystery shoppers, LG, Samsung and Whirlpool washers and dryers are recommended most often by salespersons at major U.S. appliance retailers.
Kitchen Appliances Study
The Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction in three product categories: refrigerators; dishwashers; and cooktops/ranges/ovens.  Customer satisfaction is measured based on performance in six factors: performance and reliability (including how well the appliance functions, noise level and energy efficiency); features (such as the usefulness of settings available and appliance capacity); ease of use; styling and appearance; price; and warranty.
Refrigerators
Sub-Zero ranks highest in satisfying refrigerator owners with a score of 834 and performs particularly well in five of the six factors: ease of use, performance and reliability; styling and appearance; features; and warranty. Following Sub-Zero in the ranking are Samsung (820) and LG (790). Samsung performs particularly well in the price factor.
Mystery shoppers indicate that, among refrigerator brands, Samsung receives particularly high recommendation rates from major appliance retailer salespersons.
Dishwashers
Miele ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dishwashers for a second consecutive year with a score of 814 and performs particularly well in two factors: performance and reliability and warranty. Following Miele in the ranking are Fisher & Paykel (805) and Kenmore Elite (802). Fisher & Paykel performs particularly well in the styling and appearance and features factors, while Kenmore Elite performs well in the ease of use factor.
Kenmore dishwashers receive notably high rates of salesperson recommendations, according to mystery shoppers.
Cooktops/Ranges/Ovens
Among manufacturers of cooktops, ranges, and ovens, LG and Wolf rank highest, in a tie (804 each). This is the second consecutive year that Wolf receives an award in the cooktops/ranges/ovens segment. Wolf performs particularly well in three of the six factors: ease of use; performance and reliability; and styling and appearance. Ranking third in the segment is GE Monogram (801).
Mystery shoppers indicate that appliance retailer salespersons provide high rates of recommendations for GE ranges.
The 2011 Laundry Appliance Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 5,600 customers who purchased clothes washers and more than 5,500 customers who purchased clothes dryers during the past 24 months. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.
The 2011 Kitchen Appliance Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,000 customers who purchased dishwashers, more than 4,300 customers who purchased cooktops/ranges/ovens and more than 5,000 customers who purchased refrigerators during the previous 24 months. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.
The 2011 Appliance Mystery Shopping Report compiles the findings of 600 trained mystery shoppers who performed either on-site or telephone evaluations of a major U.S. appliance retailer. The report is released quarterly; Q2 2011 results are based on evaluations collected between April and June 2011. Major appliance retailers included in the report are Best Buy, hhgregg, The Home Depot, Lowe's and Sears.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy.  With leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries.  Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion.  Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. /corporate

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