updated 12:05 am EDT, Tue November 2, 2010
Apple, HHGregg, B&H among highest-rated
In tomorrow's Annual Consumer Reports Electronics issue, the ratings service finds online retailers winning the top spots in price, selection and service when it comes to consumer electronics for the third year in a row -- though the trend of hot products in limited supply may actually end up helping independent local retailers. Apple, Ultimate Electronics and HHGregg won top marks for customer service, but Amazon and Newegg took the prize for best prices and selection overall.
Online consumer place a premium on price, selection and service, but also show loyalty to sites that are considered easy to navigate, find items and compare, the magazine noted. B&H Photo Video, a business that has successfully combined an online presence with traditional "brick and mortar" stores, along with Crutchfield, Amazon and Newegg received top scores for "ease of use."
The lack of public familiarity with some new technology products (such as tablets, 3D HDTVs and e-book readers) may actually push consumers to rely more on walk-in stores to see, try out and learn more about such products, says Consumer Reports. Independent retailers out-scored national and regional chains for in-person service, reflecting a backlash against "big box stores" for the latest electronics.
Consumer Reports mentions in their summary guide that discounting may deepen as the holiday buying season goes on, so consumers who buy early should check the retailer's return and price-matching policies in case the price changes later. On the topic of extended warranties, CR finds that only one in eight shoppers bought an extended warranty overall, but when it came to computers and related electronics, 30 percent of buyers went with the extended warranty.
The new issue with the full report goes on sale November 2nd at newsstands and online, and includes reports on laptop, netbook, desktop and tablet computers; e-book readers; camcorders; Blu-Ray players, HDTV and 3D HDTVs and more.