Kingston is King of the Hill
The development of compact, cheap hard disks, and voluminous flash memory-based storage devices has created a new category of popular external storage products. Where users need large, cheap storage — albeit in a slightly bulky form — they opt for hard disk-based devices (often made by traditional disk drive vendors). When they need convenient and eminently portable devices, with limited storage capacity, they choose the ubiquitous “pen drives”.
Despite the steep fall in prices, only about a one-fifth of the respondents to the survey said that they owned external storage devices. To some extent, this low need for storage devices could be attributed to increasing hard disk capacities on desktops and laptops, greater use of networking and the internet to transfer data, and use of re-writeable optical disks. About 80 per cent of the users indicated that they bought external storage products for personal use, as opposed to general household applications.
Index of Trust
Brand credibility (at 40 per cent) followed by satisfaction (23 per cent) are the key determinants of trust in this category of products. This also one category in which awareness played a bigger role (14 per cent), with loyalty and ownership viewed as equally key (though at slightly lower levels).
While Kingston took the top spot on the Index of Trust, Samsung and Sandisk were not far behind. Both Transcend and Hitachi were voted equally trustworthy brands, followed by Apacer and Princeton. The category was largely dominated at the top by manufacturers of USB pen drives, with traditional disk drive brands like Seagate, Maxtor and Western Digital garnering lower overall trust from buyers.
Samsung had the highest score on the Awareness Index, followed by Kingston. Most other brands registered very low on the awareness front. Top of mind recall was highest for Kingston, followed by Samsung, and Transcend. Unusually, Transcend device owners did not have high top-of-mind recall for the brand.
In terms of credibility, Kingston was out in front, followed by Sandisk and Transcend. Kingston scored high on attributes like quality, innovativeness, style and design, and ease of use. Sandisk did well on quality and ease of use, while Transcend was rated as a technology leader. Disk manufacturers Samsung and Hitachi were rated high on quality and overall trust, though Hitachi was seen to be more innovative.
Kingston, followed by Transcend, registered high scores on the satisfaction index, while disk manufacturer Western Digital was placed ahead of Seagate. Brand presence and product availability from Kingston was rated as high by users, and it was seen to offer very high value for money. Transcend also did well on overall quality rating and brand availability — though Sandisk was rated better on availability and product range. Amongst the hard disk brands, Samsung scored higher than Hitachi, though both brands were perceived to be high quality.
Apacer had the highest Loyalty Index score, followed by Sandisk. Kingston and Transcend were rated about equal on the Loyalty Index. Users indicated that they would talk positively about Apacer, and buy another product from the same brand. Sandisk users also said that their repurchase intentions were high, while Kingston users were highly likely to recommend the brand to others.
About three-quarters of the respondents said that they were the sole decision makers when it came to purchase of external storage products, though two-thirds of the respondents had been using external storage devices for less than a year. Princeton was the surprise brand that won on the ownership index — beating all others by a hefty margin. Surprisingly, Transcend was rated low on the ownership index, as were the hard disk brands Western Digital and Fujitsu.
The price paid by respondents for their external storage products ranged from about Rs 4,000 for Kingston to Rs 1,500 for Transcend. This wide variation can be attributed to differences in storage capacity. External hard disks were in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. None of the respondents could comment on servicing or repair costs for products since they had not experienced the need for it.