updated 06:25 pm EST, Mon November 21, 2005
Apple Store tops in survey
Apple Computer in a recent Consumer Reports survey, which rated computer makers who sell directly to consumers on the Internet. The survey--which polled 78,000 Consumer Reports subscribers about their experiences buying desktops and laptops both online and in walk-in retail chains--found that retailers who sell through websites and print catalogs typically gave consumers significantly higher overall satisfaction than walk-in stores did. The survey also showed that Web retailers offered better service than the sales help at walk-in retailers. "Of the manufacturers' sites, Apple.com and IBM.com led our Ratings, with the best selection and service," said Consumer Reports, according to a report by AppleInsider. "Dell.com, a pioneer of customization and the source of most customized computers that survey respondents bought, rated no higher in overall satisfaction than most other manufacturer Web sites."
In its ratings chart for "manufacturer direct" online stores that offer computer customization, Apple was rated number one with an overall score of 93. The closest challenger was IBM, which scored an 86, followed by Dell with 84, Compaq/HP with 83, Toshiba and Sony both with 82, and Gateway trailing with 80.
Survey respondents who did not need to customize their computer purchases gave retail websites and catalog retailers the best scores for price, selection, and service. Bringing up the lead was Amazon.com with a score of 89, followed by MacConnection with 88, Costco with 87 and CDW with 86. US electronic retail giants Circuit City and Best Buy rated poorly, with scores of 80 and 78, respectively.
"With the exception of Apple, whose Web site led our Ratings by a wide margin, the other manufacturers' and retailers' sites, including the QVC shopping channel, were judged on par with one another in overall satisfaction, on average," Consumer Reports said.
Micro Center and Costco rated the highest amongst walk-in retailers, with scores of 82 and 81. Retail giants Circuit City and Best Buy trailed in the survey with scores of 76 and 75, again. Computer superstore CompUSA also scored a 75.
Consumer Reports awarded Apple.com with its top Quick Pick for customized computer buys, while noting that Apple does not allow returns of custom or refurbished computers. The complete survey results will be published in the December issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
More information can be found at AppleInsider.