J.D. Power report: Warranty matters when it comes to appliances

J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual kitchen and laundry appliance satisfaction surveys, with warranty playing an increasingly important role in the minds of customers.

Performance and product-specific features have long been the most influential factors in calculating these statistics, but warranty and price have been trending upwards in importance. Warranty now contributes to about 10% of the overall satisfaction score across all categories, a jump of two percentage points over the last three years.

The second most important factor for laundry appliances is ease of use, which makes up 20% of the score. For kitchen appliances, price has increased in importance by two percentage points to comprise 15% of overall satisfaction.

"We continue to see a tightening of scores among the highest-ranked brands, which is very telling in that, although specific brands have specific strengths, in the end there are a number of brands delivering an outstanding customer experience," said Christina Cooley, director in the home improvement industries practice at J.D. Power. "In this extremely competitive environment, brands that have already proven themselves through their products will likely be able to further differentiate through their relationships with their customers, as demonstrated through their warranty, and ultimately providing a consistent and strong value message that incorporates both the product and long-term relationship with customers."

Overall, Samsung took the lead in clothes washers, LG's clothes dryers were favored the most, Sub-Zero had the highest ranking for refrigerators, and Kenmore took the lead in both dishwashers and ranges, cooktops and ovens. 

The studies measure customer satisfaction based on six factors: ease of use, features, performance/reliability, price, style and warranty.