Look Out, Apple, Samsung’s Gaining on You!

People still love their iPhones, but they love them a little bit less than they did a year ago.  

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Apple showed a 2% slip, from 83 to 81. And, in what could be somewhat worrying news for Apple, Samsung’s Galaxy S III, launched in 2012 and boasting a larger screen and lots of tempting features, boosted Samsung’s score by 7%, to 76.

The improvement is the largest yet for any cellphone manufacturer, and earns Samsung a position even with the industry average and Nokia (+1%) and just behind second-place Motorola, up 5% to 77. Nevertheless, Samsung remains well behind industry leader Apple.

Overall customer satisfaction with cell telephones rebounds 2.7% to an ACSI benchmark of 76, matching the industry’s previous high from 2010. Slightly more than half of all phones now sold are smartphones. With a broad array of features and many different applications, smart phones tend to draw higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Despite losing a bit of ground, Apple’s score keeps it ahead of all the competition. While the iPhone5 had strong sales, it has not bolstered Apple’s overall customer satisfaction. Apple’s ACSI benchmark for its phones lags the company’s rating for its PC desktop, laptop, and tablet business, which scores 86 (last reported by the ACSI in September 2012).

After Samsung and Nokia, there is a significant drop-off to the rest of the industry. Both HTC (-4%) and LG (-5%) lost ground this year, earning benchmarks in the survey of 72 and 71, respectively. BlackBerry anchors the bottom of the category with an unchanged score of 69.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is an independent national benchmark of customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the U.S. Each year, 70,000 customers are surveyed about the products and services they use the most.