Mobile Phone Style is Key to Customer Satisfaction

A new survey released last week by Strategy Analytics indicates that the “style” of a mobile phone may be the key feature that users rely on when gauging their satisfaction with mobile phone technology.

The study analyzes mobile device buyer satisfaction across 20 “critical product attributes” for customers in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Owners of phones produced by LG, the Korean firm, reported the highest satisfaction ratings in 17 out of 19 categories in Western Europe and in 9 out of 19 in the U.S., including “most stylish device,” the survey said.

Of the major brands, Nokia owners are least likely to consider their devices “stylish,” the survey, called the Wireless Device Customer Satisfaction Index, said.

Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

“LG tops the wireless device customer satisfaction index on both sides of the Atlantic, with an 80 percent satisfaction rating in the U.S. and an impressive 86 percent score in Western Europe,” said Paul Brown, a wireless analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Brown said that Kyocera Wireless achieved the “second highest” customer satisfaction rating in the U.S., while Sony Ericsson was rated second in Europe.

Motorola trailed customer satisfaction leader LG by 13 points in Europe and was ranked only 6th overall in the U.S. on 20 product attributes, suggesting repeat purchase intention “softness,” the survey said.

“Despite improvements over the past year, half of the mobile users in the U.S. and Western Europe still give their camera’s picture sharing capabilities, as well as image quality, a failing grade,” said Kevin Nolan, director of the advanced wireless laboratory service at Strategy Analytics.

The report also concludes that over half of all users rate their ringtone and game download experience as unsatisfactory, while almost half of all users are dissatisfied with their battery performance.

The survey is based upon research with 2,000 users of mobile devices in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Sales Surge Worldwide

Mobile phone sales worldwide surged, overall, to a record-breaking 205.4 million units in the third quarter, a 22 percent jump from the same period last year, according to another report.

Gartner, Inc. said the sales represented the “biggest quarter on record” since the research firm began tracking the mobile phone market. The firm predicts strong sales for the fourth quarter and is increasing its worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to 810 million units in 2005.

Nokia captured a 32.6 percent market share, selling 66.9 million units in the third quarter of 2005, a 28 percent increase from the 52.2 million it sold in the same quarter of last year.

Driving sales for Nokia were the 10 new phones it shipped for the global system for mobile communications (GSM) market and five for the code division multiple access (CDMA) market. The Nokia 6680 was the “strongest model” in the wide-band CDMA market niche.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola had the largest market share increase among the top five vendors in the third quarter and widened the distance between it and Samsung.

The company captured an 18.7 percent share of the market, selling 38.5 million units in the third quarter of this year, compared to 22.6 million in last year’s third quarter, or a 70 percent increase, the survey said.

The RAZR phone — advertised heavily on TV and in other media by the technology giant — accounted for the largest share of the Illinois-based phone maker’s sales toal. Motorola sold 12 million units by the end of September, as the company slashed prices and introduced more colors for the RAZR, buttressing the claim that style is a decisive factor in mobile phone purchases for consumers.

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