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MaximumPC: Survey Says: Desktops En Vogue Again

Armory Staff

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Satisfaction growing for desktop PCs among mainstream Americans


For enthusiasts, this won’t be news but after feasting on the empty calories of tablets and phones for years, mainstream consumers may finally have had enough and may be looking for something with a little more substance in their tech diets: the old-fashioned desktop PC.


At least that’s part of the conclusion of a new survey released today that gauges American “satisfaction†which says consumers may be turning to desktop PCs again.


Desktops, in fact, now actually satisfy more Americans more than tablets and laptops, survey data shows. The annual survey was conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index out of Ann Arbor, Mich. And attempts to quantify overall satisfaction with consumer purchases of goods and services.


“Contrary to most predictions, the PC may be on the verge of making a bit of a comeback: sales of desktops are no longer falling after years of significant decline. On the other hand, tablet sales growth appears to have slowed. As the early enthusiasm with tablets wears off, customer satisfaction dips (-1% to 80) and now trails slightly behind desktops (+3% to 81), although both lead laptops (-4% to 76) by a wide margin,†the report says.


Consumption of tablets and smartphones have been off the charts for years which had analysts and the media predicting the death of the PC. Apparently that ain’t so.


“(Consumers have) got their mobile devices now,†said, David Van Amburg, managing director of the ACSI, “Maybe we need to go back and replace this PC which is three, four or five years old.†


Van Amburg told Maximum PC the survey data indicates consumers are likely becoming jaded with the tablet and phone upgrades and have begun to buy desktop PCs again. Van Amburg said the last time they bought their PCs they may have been beige boxes but their new desktop PC purchases reflect the changes the PC has gone through in design, style, and performance.  


“According to customers, PC makers do a good job of creating reliable products that don’t often crash and have good processor speeds (both 82 percent). Devices are easy to use (81 percent) with attractive features such as preloaded software or apps, memory, and data storage (80 percent),†the survey said.


Big PC makers shouldn’t take too much solace in the survey numbers though. The survey shows that from 2013 to 2014, Dell suffered a 4 percent drop in “satisfaction†with its products at 76 percent in the latest survey. HP took a bit hit going from 80 percent satisfaction to 74 percent. Toshiba,  which recently threw in the towel on consumer PCs, also took a hit going from 78 percent to 75 percent. Even Apple lost ground going from an impressive 87 percent in 2013 to 84 percent. These numbers, however, reflect PCs, laptops and tablets bunched together. That, Van Amburg, says may explain Apple’s drop in satisfaction. Rather than Mac users being less satisfied, he said it’s likely the iPad and iPhone users who are dragging the scores down. That implies that even Apple fans are turning back to servicing the desktop as well. The satisfaction survey data is good news for smaller vendors such as Samsung, Asus and Lenovo. In its “all others†category, the ACSI survey said consumer satisfaction grew by 8 percent. It’s not known if even smaller more customized PC builders helped move the needle or not.


As an industry, Van Amburg said overall, the personal computers (including tablets and laptops) rank as only medicore in satisfaction as they should be benchmarked against durable goods items. Televisions and video players, for example, get an 86 percent compared to the 78 percent for computers, laptops and tablets. On the bottom of the ACSI’s list are: Internet Service Providers, subscription television, airlines, social media, and cell phone companies and the US Postal service. Credit unions and soft drinks rank far higher.


For the personal computer category, the ASCI scientifically selected 3,000 consumers through phone and email during April, May and June.


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