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And now, for the good news: J.D. Power finds smartphone sales and ‘satisfaction’ growing

Amid the macro-economic slowdown that threatens typically brisk sales in the crucial fourth quarter, there’s at least one silver lining.
Smartphone sales are up (you knew that) and that has increased consumers’ satisfaction with their wireless experience.
And that satisfaction comes despite the higher cost of smart devices and data service for them, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Ironically, given its struggles in the United States market, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications ranked highest among vendors for the third consecutive time, the market research firm said.
J.D. Powers’ evaluation of mobile phones in the U.S. market was based on physical design (24% weight), operation (22%), features (20%), durability (19%) and battery function (15%).
Overall satisfaction scores by consumers in the study reached 719 out of 1,000, a 9-point increase from six months ago.
The rise in popularity of smartphones has boosted the average purchase price to $107, up $15 from last year. U.S. consumers now spend an average of $80 per month (including taxes) on wireless service, which includes more data plans, text messaging packages and downloads.
Younger customers report greater satisfaction, with 18-to-24-year olds giving their experience a 750 score out of 1,000, while the stodgier, 45-to-64-year old crowd gave their satisfaction a 709 score.
Sony Ericsson received the highest score (739), but was tightly grouped with LG Electronics Co. Ltd. (733) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (724).
Consumers appear to grasp greater possibilities for their next handset purchase, with 30% seeking GPS and 25% seeking a touchscreen, the study found.
Meanwhile, familiar reasons were given by consumers for the selection of their current phone: 43% chose a handset based on its “design style”, 25% received the handset for free, 25% found their handset easy-to-use, 23% purchased based on discounted pricing, 20% sought a digital camera and 19% liked the variety of features offered.
The J.D. Power study surveyed more than 16,000 wireless consumers who’ve owned their current handset for less than two years.

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