J.D. Power Sees Satisfaction Among Window Buyers Declining

August 12, 2009
Markets

Overall satisfaction levels among consumers purchasing windows and patio doors has declined in 2009, but builders and remodelers are giving manufacturers slightly higher marks this year, according to two new studies released by J.D. Power & Associates.

“Consumers have scaled back on remodeling and discretionary projects due to tight credit, declining home values and general economic uncertainty,” says Jim Howland, senior director in J.D. Powers real estate industries practice, discussing the 2009 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Study focusing on homeowners. “Those who find it necessary to replace windows or remodel in light of these conditions are much more likely to scrutinize every aspect of their purchase and carry particularly high expectations for products.”

Pointing to the results of J.D. Power's Builder and Remodeler Residential Window and Patio Door Satisfaction Study, Howland notes, "Despite the downturn in new-home construction and remodeling industries, window manufacturers have maintained their focus on satisfying new-home builders and remodelers consistently during the past several years. Satisfaction levels in 2009 have nearly returned to the high level seen in 2006."

Homeowner Study
Based on responses from 2,856 consumers who purchased new windows or patio doors during the previous 12 months, the consumer study, now in its third year, measures satisfaction among consumers who purchased new windows or patio doors based on performance in seven factors (listed in order of importance):

  • operational performance (17%)
  • product quality/durability (17%)
  • appearance and design features (15%)
  • price (14%)
  • ordering and delivery (14%)
  • warranty (13%)
  • repair and replacement (10%)

According to the study, overall satisfaction with windows and patio doors has declined to 769 on a 1,000-point scale in 2009, down from 781 in 2008. Satisfaction decreased in all seven factors, the market research firm notes.  Reflecting increased consumer scrutiny of window and door products, the importance of warranty, product quality and durability, appearance and design features, and operational performance factors increased from 2008, while the importance of the price and ordering and delivery factors declined substantially, according to J.D. Power.

Comparison of Window/Patio Door Consumer Trends - 2008 vs. 2009
   2008
2009Difference
Average cost of window projects
(including installation and labor)
  $3,608$3,094-$514
Average number of window/patio door
units purchased
  7.0 units5.8 units-1.2 units

Percentage of consumers who installed
windows/patio doors themselves

  37%41%+4%

Table 1–Source: J.D. Power & Associates

As seen in Table 1, the study found that consumers report spending less overall on window projects, purchasing fewer window and patio door units, and are installing windows and doors themselves more frequently than in previous years.

For a third consecutive year, Pella ranked highest among consumers in overall satisfaction with windows and patio doors. Achieving a score of 787, Pella performed particularly well in three of seven factors: operational performance; product quality/durability; and appearance and design. Closely following Pella in the rankings were Andersen (785) and Milgard (784). Andersen performed particularly well in the ordering and delivery and warranty factors, while Milgard performed well in the price and repair and replacement factors. More manufacturer ranking information from the study are available on the J.D. Power Web site.

Builder/Remodeler Study
Based on input from more than 3,100 builders and remodelers, J.D. Power's second study has found satisfaction levels increasing steadily during the past three years, from 780 on a 1,000-point scale in 2007 to 800 in 2009. Compared with 2008, window and patio door manufacturers have made considerable improvement in order accuracy and timeliness of order delivery in 2009. The percentage of builders and remodelers who said their order was received on time and complete increased to 91 percent in 2009, up from 85 percent in 2008.

The 2009 study also found a shift in the type of window and patio door installation jobs builders and remodelers are performing, with remodeling jobs occurring more frequently than new construction work. "The shift toward remodeling work suggests that builder and remodeler satisfaction may be increasingly influenced by preferences of homeowners who are commissioning these jobs," says Howland. "Should this trend continue, it will be interesting to see how end-user preferences affect brand choices made by builders and remodelers."

Simonton Windows scored highest in the builder/remodler study, achieving an index score of 837 and performing particularly well in three of seven factors: ordering process, delivery and price, according to J.D. Power. Milgard and Marvin followed in the rankings–829 and 828–respectively, with both brands improving notably from 2008. Milgard performed particularly well in the warranty and repair service factor, while Marvin performs well in the product, customer service and support and credit/billing factors. Other manufacturer rankings in the study are available on the J.D. Power Web site.

Both Pella and Simonton issued press releases noting their number one rankings in the two studies.   “We are truly honored that again for the third straight year and continually since the award’s inception, consumers recognize Pella’s industry-leading focus on providing superior windows and outstanding service,” reported Elaine Sagers, Pella vice president of marketing and customer satisfaction. “The J.D. Power & Associates award is a direct reflection of the dedicated efforts of the Pella system, together with our valued business partners, to create a better view for our customers.”

“One of our core values at Simonton Windows is to focus on anticipating and exceeding customer expectations. Our exceptional ranking for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power & Associates--for the second consecutive year--serves as a key performance indicator for us, and echoes our strong commitment to building and remodeling professionals throughout our industry,” noted Mark Savan, Simonton president. “We are honored to again receive this outstanding recognition for our products and services, and we value the confidence and trust they place in Simonton every day."