Consumers are no happier with their computers this year than they were last year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. In its annual report, the group found that consumer satisfaction with personal computers has remained stagnant at 78 out of 100. Continuing what is now an eight-year tradition, Apple ranked highest among computer manufacturers with a rating of 87 -- up one point from 2010 and well ahead of its nearest competitor.
As with last year, HP scored both the best and worst among Windows PCs. Its mainstream and premium "HP" brand maintained dominance with a satisfaction rating of 78, while its budget "Compaq" brand ranked last with 75. Both numbers increased point over 2010. Other major players, including Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and Sony are sandwiched between the two HP brands with a ranking of 77 -- a figure that has remained unchanged since last year.
Echoing the same forecast we've heard from other analysts and research houses, the ACSI believes tablets are partly to blame for the weak PC demand. Apple's dominance in the outfit's ratings has been largely attributed to the company's attractive products and impeccable timing. Like the iPod and iPhone, the iPad has been extremely popular, effectively setting the bar for rival device makers who have been struggling to play catch-up since early 2010.
The ACSI notes that the iPad generated $9 billion in sales during the first half of 2011, which is 30% more than Dell earned from its entire consumer PC business. When comparing non-tablet PC sales, it's said that Apple's desktop and laptop shipments grew 16% on-year in the second quarter of 2011, while Dell's consumer products grew 1%. Apple's stock price has grown 50% in the past year, whereas Dell's shares were largely flat and HP's fell 20%.