On their August 3rd, 2023 earnings call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri claimed that the iPhone 14 family enjoyed 98% customer satisfaction in the US market. That’s an extraordinary claim, because it can’t possibly be true. It’s essentially impossible to find anything with satisfaction rates that high, at least not if you’re using traditional research methods and a representative sample.
America’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, has an 82% approval rating. The top-reviewed movie on IMDB enjoys 93%. Even Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Asad only claimed 95% support in his last election, and that was denounced by the United Nations for being undemocratic.
So what’s going on with Apple? We wrote about this in detail after Apple made a similar claim last May, but here's a brief summary.
Maestri cites a study from 451 Research when making this claim, and presents it as being representative of the US market.
Here’s the full quote from the August 3, 2023 earnings call.
It’s important to note that Maestri has made an almost identical claim in every single earnings call for the last 28 quarters (full list). Here’s what he said in Q2, 2023:
And Q1, 2023.
The implication is straightforward. The iPhone 14 family enjoys 98% customer satisfaction among US purchasers.
The trouble is nothing we know about the iPhone 14 backs up Maestri’s assertion that it is universally loved. The iPhone 14 family generally received tepid reviews when it was released, due to the high price and minor improvements. User reviews posted on Google for the iPhone 14 family were the lowest for any iPhone in a decade. And independent researchers who’ve polled iPhone satisfaction have found the customer satisfaction rates around 81%, far lower than Apple claims. Furthermore, Apple acknowledges that iPhone sales are slipping in the US market. That’s not something you’d expect to see for a universally-adored product.
Neither Apple nor 451 Research responded to multiple emails about this from PerfectRec. However, we did find a 2018 press release from 451 Research that sheds some light on the situation. In it, 451 Research clearly describes a poll of self-identified business and technology professionals and early adopters who like spending money on gadgets.
Needless to say, this is not a representative poll of U.S. iPhone customers. The question we have for Apple is why do they keep repeating this implausible claim in every single earnings call?
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