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September 23, 2020

Here’s what 7,720 customers want from their PCs

David Vanamburg

The best way to describe customer satisfaction with PCs? Steady as she goes.

Following a 1.3% bump last year, satisfaction with personal computers – including desktops, laptops, and tablets – sits unchanged at 78 (out of 100), according to our most recent Household Appliance and Electronics Report.

This isn’t unusual within the industry. Since 2010, user satisfaction with PCs has been relatively stable, averaging an ACSI score of 78.

Another aspect of the overall PC experience that hasn’t changed much over the past three years: Desktop computer users (80) continue to be more satisfied than users of tablets (78) and laptops (77).

But the data goes deeper into the various aspects of each and what consumers are most satisfied with. For the first time, we broke down the elements of customer experience by device type.

What do 7,720 customers really want from their PCs? Let’s take a look.

Tablets have the “look”

All three devices received their highest overall scores for design. According to PC users, tablets lead the competition with an ACSI score of 84. But it’s not exactly a runaway.

Desktops are right on their heels at 83. Laptops aren’t too far off either with a mark of 81.

But while users generally like the looks of their devices, it’s what’s inside that counts, and that’s where the scores start to diverge.

Desktops have superior performance

Desktops and tablets are tied at the top in three categories: graphics and sound quality (82), ease of operation (82), and availability of accessories (81).

But, for the most part, desktop users are more satisfied in terms of performance.

Desktops (82) easily best tablets (80) and laptops (79) in satisfaction with the availability of software or apps. For processor speed, desktops (81) are ahead again of tablets (78) and laptops (77). While the margin is closer, desktop consumers report they experience crashes less frequently (81) than users of tablets (80) and laptops (78) do.

As far as features – including operating system, preloaded software or apps, memory, and data storage – desktops lead the way as well, besting both tablets and laptops with an ACSI score of 81.

Laptops leave much to be desired

Sixty-four percent of the interview pool for the Household Appliance and Electronics Report consisted of laptop users. Yet, based on their responses, laptops don’t perform nearly as well as the other devices in, well, everything.

Outside of design, laptops don’t crack 80 in any of the customer experience benchmarks.

While desktops and tablets tie for graphics and sound quality (82), laptops lag at 79. When the competition scores 81 each for the availability of accessories, laptops again fall short at 79. And, when desktop and tablet users give the devices 82 a piece for ease of operation, laptops miss the mark once more with a score of 79.

Laptops are the device of choice, according to our latest report. With more people than ever before needing mobile devices to work and learn from home, many more consumers are turning to laptops. But if these devices can’t get the job done, that feeling could change.

All of these scores demonstrate room for improvement in laptops and provide an opportunity for manufacturers to turn things around. A focused improvement in any one area could improve users’ perceptions and overall satisfaction.

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