NEW YORK: Netflix and Apple enjoy the highest levels of customer loyalty among US consumers, a report has found.

Brand Keys, the consultancy, recently released its latest annual ranking of popular devotion to 728 goods and services in 79 categories. A Warc Blog post covering the study in more detail is availble here.

The study used data covering the psychological drivers of shopper habits with statistical analysis, in an effort to combine emotional and rational behavioural triggers, and measure future purchase intent.

Netflix, which provides subscription-based access to films and TV shows via DVD and online streaming, claimed the top spot across all the featured sectors.

Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, said Netflix's core strength lay in "delighting" members.

Apple slipped from the leading position it occupied last year, but still took second, as innovative devices like the iPad continued to stimulate interest.

Pharmaceutical chain Walgreens, Discover credit cards, Mary Kay cosmetics, fast food giant McDonald's, apparel retailer J. Crew, and electronics manufacturers Samsung and Nikon, also performed well.
Elsewhere, Dillard's and Kohl's tied in the department store segment, Wal-Mart headed the discount charts and Ace was the premier DIY group.

Turning to soft drinks, Pepsi's eponymous regular and diet offerings beat Coca-Cola's rival products in their respective markets.

Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and Special K were the cereals securing the greatest fidelity, alongside being perceived as representing a "tasty lifestyle", containing nutritious ingredients and giving excellent value.

Dunkin' Donuts won the out-of-home coffee competition for the fourth successive year, and Starbucks' rejuvenation programme yielded dividends as it leapfrogged McDonald's to steal second.

Procter & Gamble's Tide detergent and Pampers diapers secured the highest scores in their fields, a standing assumed by Aquafina when discussing bottled water, and Sam Adams and Coors while comparing regular beers.
Among luxury specialists, Lancôme was the best-regarded beauty brand, as was Elizabeth Arden for facial moisturisers, and InterContinental between the premium hotel operators.

Apple's iPhone led the way concerning smartphones, bettering alternatives from Samsung and Research in Motion's Blackberry.

Facebook was by far the pre-eminent social network, but Twitter fell behind MySpace, LinkedIn and Flickr.

Facebook's advantages included the "ease of connection", reinforcing visitors' "self-image" and generating an impressive overarching "brand value", although some issues remain.

"When you put all the drivers together they have a very loyal base," said Passikoff. "When you look at the diagnostics, Facebook does rank very low in terms of security and control."

Google received the same status for search engines - reflecting the firm's actual position in the market - followed by Microsoft's Bing, Ask and Yahoo.

Hyundai retained first place in the auto sector and inhabited fifth in the entire rankings, aided by the Assurance scheme letting buyers return cars should financial conditions so dictate.

Ford climbed from fourth to second as its recovery gained momentum, and a number of recalls meant Toyota tumbled eight spots to tenth.

"This year, 93% of all categories tracked are showing their greatest increases in expectations within purchase-drivers that are centered on innovation and other attributes that most strongly impact customers' overall experience," Passikoff added.

"Given the levels of commoditisation we've witnessed in so many categories as a result of product/service delivery and pricing/promotion strategies, it's no surprise that consumers are now looking for their favorite brands to make a real difference."

Data sourced from Warc/MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff