Study: Gateway New Loyalty Leader in PCs

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Gateway, the North Sioux City, SD-based direct marketer of PCs, is the new loyalty leader of the PC industry, displacing long-running winner Apple Macintosh, according to a study released last week by ZD Market Intelligence.

"Gateway has that direct relationship with the customer," said Dave Tremblay, senior industry analyst at ZD Market Intelligence, La Jolla, CA, which provides information on the computer industry. "It's a lot easier to build a good customer relationship when you are not relying on a retailer or reseller who is relying on a lot of different brands."

Gateway had a repurchase rate hitting 75 percent, with Hewlett Packard following a close second at 72 percent. Apple landed third place with 71 percent, and Dell rounded out the top four with 69 percent. Compaq, IBM and Packard Bell followed at 60 percent, 49 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Tremblay thinks other companies will follow Gateway's lead and focus on loyalty programs. Gateway recently introduced YourWare, which enables customers to trade in their Gateway computers for newer models.

"Everybody's looking at trying to get closer to the customer," he said. "They understand that staying close to the customer engenders repurchase and helps build a better product."

Data was obtained from responses received to questionnaires mailed to 50,000 households.

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