If you’re not happy with your smartphone, chances are it’s the phone’s battery that’s bringing you down. A new study finds battery performance – particularly how long the battery lasts before it needs recharging – is becoming a critical factor in overall smartphone satisfaction and brand loyalty. And that satisfaction has been in free fall this past year as users place increasingly complex demands of the functionality of their smartphones.
Battery performance is one of the few attributes that declined significantly in the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey of wireless smartphone customers.
The poll of more than 7,000 smartphone owners found that satisfaction levels with battery performance differ widely between owners of 3G- and 4G-enabled smartphones, the study found. Among owners of 4G-enabled smartphones, battery satisfaction ratings averaged 6.1 on a 10-point scale, compared with 6.7 among owners of 3G smartphones. Part of this difference stemmed from the fact that new 4G smartphones use substantial battery life searching for next-generation network signals, which tend to be scarcer than 3G signals, the study noted.
In addition, owners of 4G-enabled smartphones use their device more extensively: They talk, text, email and surf the Web more often than do customers with 3G smartphones or traditional handsets, which puts a significantly higher demand on the battery.
"Both carriers and manufacturers recognize the fact that battery life needs to be improved," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, the study uncovers the need for a greater sense of urgency – short battery life can result in perceived phone problems, higher rates of merchandise returns and customer defections."
According to Parsons, the smartphone owners who are highly satisfied with their device's battery life are the ones most likely to repurchase the same brand of smartphone.
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