With wireless OEMs focusing on advanced technology and carrying similar technologies, smartphone owners now more than ever are looking for the best price. In J.D. Power’s recently released “2014 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study—Volume 1,” 21% of smartphone owners marked “price” as the main reason for choosing a device, an increase from 13% in 2011’s “U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study—Volume 2.”

These survey findings form the latest addition to a study that’s been ongoing since 2011. In the past three years, J.D. Power surveyed users of the four Tier 1 wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Between September 2013 and February 2014, J.D. Power surveyed 13,237 customers of the aforementioned wireless carriers who have owned a smartphone device for less than one year. Satisfaction was measured using four factors: performance (31%); physical design (23%); features (23%); and, ease of operation (23%). On a 1000-point scale, overall satisfaction among smartphone owners came in at 837.

Although cost is important, those who chose smartphones based on price have a lower level of satisfaction (rating of 808) and a repurchase rate of 18%. That said, in 2014, the average price of smartphone devices increased to $202 (only 52% of owners got a discounted rate)—an increase from the $174 in the 2011 report (60% of consumers received a discount).

Features still represent an important part of smartphone selection. However, in the 2014 survey, 35% reported it as their primary reason, which is a sharp drop-off from the 57% in 2011.

What features would smartphone owners like to see on their next device? According to the report, the most desired were seamless voice control (35%); built-in sensors that can gauge temperature, lighting, noise, and moods to customize settings to environment (35%), and facial recognition and biometric security (28%).  

In addition, when customers selected a smartphone based on operating system or other product-specific reasons, they experienced lower satisfaction levels (860 out of 1000) and a repurchase rate of 35%. In terms of carriers, AT&T had the highest overall satisfaction rate with a score of 844, followed by Sprint (839), T-Mobile (835), and Verizon (829).

Smartphone owners also ranked smartphones based on carrier. Overall, Apple received the highest rating across the carriers, with Samsung a close second. Furthermore, J.D. Power included power circle ratings from 1 to 5. Apple again received the highest score of 5 across all carriers, with Samsung receiving full marks from all carriers except Sprint. LG and Motorola both averaged a 2.