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Consumers Like Apple, Google And US Automakers

Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009 | 11:35 AM ET

Customer satisfaction with products and services available to American consumers is high and increasing, according to the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

In the personal computer and e-businesses categories, Apple and Google came out on top and both maintain sizeable leads over their competitors.

“In terms of customer satisfaction, they are so much above the rest,” Claes Fornell, head of ACSI, told CNBC. “…It will take a long time before anybody can catch them.”

Customer Satisfaction Index
Consumers are showing a slight increase in satisfaction, according to the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index. Claes Fornell, of the university's National Quality Research Center, discusses the details.

In a surprise to the producers of the index, US automakers surged in terms of customer satisfaction and now equal their Asian counterparts.

“This time it was all about Detroit,” said Fornell. “… All the Detroit companies are up, and this is a big difference from what we’ve seen in the past.

Ford led the pack with a 5 percent increase in customer satisfaction, but General Motors and Chrysler also posted gains.

So what does customer satisfaction mean for the broader economy?

“There is a relationship between customer satisfaction and consumer spending,” said Fornell. “As customer satisfaction goes up, the demand curve shifts upward, so consumers will be more poised to spend.”

Fornell said the question now is whether the means to spend – cash and credit - are actually there.

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