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Apple leads the way in 2017 SAcsi for mobile handsets

The latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Mobile Handsets, conducted by Consulta, indicates that local mobile handset users are most satisfied with Apple iPhone, despite the brand’s high prices. With an overall SAcsi score of 84, Apple is well above the industry average of 79.7 and 0.5 points ahead of its 2016 score of 83.5.
Huawei ranks second with a 4.1 point jump to 81.3, followed by Samsung, which scored 80.4 (up 0.9 points since 2016).

Other handset manufacturers – including the likes of Sony, Blackberry and LG among others – saw an overall decline in customer satisfaction to 75.1 in 2017, down from 77.5 in 2016 and 82.4 in 2015.

Now in its fifth year, the SAcsi for Mobile Handsets offers impartial insights into the South African mobile handset industry by measuring the customer’s overall satisfaction. This satisfaction score is based on brands exceeding or falling short of customer expectations and the respondents’ idea of the ideal product to achieve an overall result out of 100. The measurement also includes, amongst other measures, Customer Expectations Index, Perceived Quality Index and a Perceived Value Index. The sample included 1405 mobile phone users who were randomly selected to participate in the 2017 survey.

‘Although Apple and Samsung have maintained their dominance in the minds of their customers, Huawei has made strong inroads to grow its market share since last year,’ said Consulta CEO, Professor Adré Schreuder. ‘While the Chinese brand offers a high-quality smart phone at a more affordable price, it’s moved beyond the focus on display and camera quality to position itself as a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) capability.’

Apple maintained its position with the highest perceived quality score of 89.3 (up from 88.7 in 2016), followed by Huawei with 85.8 (up from 80.4). Samsung’s perceived quality score remained stable at 83.6, while the overall industry’s perceived quality increased from 82.7 to 83.8.
The collective perceived quality score for rest of the industry, apart from the three main brands, was below par at 80.4, which is lower than their collective 2016 score of 80.5 and 2015 score of 85.3.

‘Apple’s brand perception across a variety of linked devices such as tablets, laptops and watches has contributed to customers viewing it as a high-quality brand that meets their needs in a reliable way. However, Huawei is looking to firmly establish its reputation as a premium product as it increases its service and maintenance footprint in South Africa,’ said Schreuder.

‘Handset manufacturers face constant pressure to offer customers more value for less cost. With new models of premium handsets likely to be more expensive than models already in market, brands will need to be careful about trying to be all things to everyone,’ said Schreuder. ‘Apple, for instance, offers more affordable devices like the iPhone 5S for R6999, with its flagship iPhone 7S costing close on R16 500. Samsung has also followed this strategy of playing across segments, offering phones from as little as R999 right up to R15 300, but the risk is an inconsistency in brand experience.’

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