Resilience or reluctance? How Americans react to electronics and phone recalls
September 29th, 2023, Kineree Shah

Resilience or reluctance? How Americans react to electronics and phone recalls

The tech industry has witnessed major product recalls in the recent past, including the recent $479 million partial settlement agreed upon by Philips Respironics due to flaws in their breathing machines. This joins a growing list of concerns, from Costco recalling Ubio Labs Power Banks owing to fire hazards, to Electrolux recalling Frigidaire Gas Cooktops because of potential gas leaks and fire risks. These events  raise the question – how does a product recall influence consumer loyalty and trust in a brand? 

Out of 1,178 Americans polled nearly half are still likely to buy electronic products and cell phones from the same brand, even after a recall (49% each). However, more than a third say they are unlikely to do so (37% and 36% respectively). Consumers can be less forgiving towards recalls of other product categories like medical products (48% unlikely to buy) or children's toys (45% unlikely to buy). Even so, the potential loss of two-fifths of a customer base is nothing to be sneezed at.

When it comes to the root causes of hesitancy to repurchase from a brand following a product recall, seven in 10 consumers cited concerns about safety or product quality as the prime reason in both categories (71% each).

Equally significant is the erosion of trust in the brand post-recall, with over half of Americans admitting to a loss of faith. (54% in electronic products and 57% for cell phones). This is closely followed by personal experiences with a faulty product (41% each) and the brand's handling of the recall scenario, with two in five Americans acknowledging these as substantial reasons for their hesitation (41% each).

Past experiences with the brand (33% and 34%) and negative media coverage or reviews also hold considerable sway, impacting about one-third of the respondents' choices (31%). Meanwhile, word of mouth, although not as pronounced as the other factors, still influences around one in five Americans, spotlighting the role interpersonal communications play in shaping purchasing decisions (22% and 23%).

In light of the data, regaining consumer trust post a product recall is a delicate process for brands in the electronics and mobile phone sectors. By focusing on transparency and ensuring product safety, these companies have the opportunity to rebuild consumer trust and foster loyalty once again. This underscores the importance of a brand's response strategy in maintaining a positive relationship with their customer base.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on August 28-29, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 1,178 adults (aged 18+ years) in the US, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race to be representative of all adults in the US (18 years or older) and reflect the latest population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.