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Survey finds smartphone users spend more; iPhone most satisfying

On the heels of a bevy of smartphone launches, J.D. Power and Associates this morning reported that its latest customer survey found that customers that regularly use social media applications are more satisfied with their smartphone. More important for carriers, those customers also spend more money per month for their wireless service.

The “Wireless Smartphone Customers Satisfaction Study,” noted that 67% of smartphone users said they have downloaded social networking applications to their device and spent more than 100 minutes per week using those apps. Those customers in turn posted satisfaction scored 55 points higher with their device than customers that did not partake in the social media experience.

The correlation between apps and satisfaction also spread to gaming, as the survey found 69% of smartphone customers had downloaded a gaming application to their device and reported satisfaction scores 61 points higher than those that resisted the urge.

“As the capabilities of wireless phones and their applications continue to expand, allowing customers to more often use their device, handset manufacturers have an opportunity to shape the customer experience and impact satisfaction with better application integration and social networking options,” said Uma Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates.

The survey also found that smartphone users that have downloaded gaming applications spend on average $13 more per month for their wireless service than non-gamers, while social media users spend an average of $12 more per month than those that refrain from sharing the details of their life. Some of that additional spending may go to the application developers, but could also require customers to upgrade data packages to more expensive options.

Amongst specific devices, Apple’s iPhone garnered the highest ranking in customer satisfaction, which J.D. Power and Associates noted was the eighth consecutive study in which Apple came out on top. HTC trailed Apple by a considerable 59 points (849 vs. 790).

As for purchasing trends, the survey found that consumers are becoming less swayed by a smartphone’s feature set or operating system compared to last year’s survey (57% vs. 47%), and that an increasing number selected their smartphone based on price (14% vs. 19%). The number of customers that indicated they received their latest smartphone for free jumped from 18% last year to 22% this year.

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