How J.D. Power Ratings Work

By: Tom Scheve

Types of J.D. Power Ratings

J.D. Power and Associates earned its reputation for consumer research in the auto industry, but the company has expanded its polling to include many different industries. While many of these efforts have generated lots of business, it has also left the company open to complaints that it's operating outside its field of expertise: automobiles. While J.D. Power does offer consulting services to industries it serves, its primary offering is its access to the "voice of the people," and no industry can easily dismiss the opinions of the market it serves.

Not every industry is a good fit for J.D. Power & Associates. There is concern over watering down the integrity the company has attempted to build since its inception, so it won't be providing hula hoop market research any time soon. There are certain industry prerequisites that must be satisfied to make consumer research financially viable. The product itself must be a fairly significant purchase for consumers to have strong opinions about it (and for the manufacturers themselves to care). This cancels out products like toothpaste, shampoo and bubble gum. An industry must also be full of competitors, or else there won't be enough companies available or motivated enough to purchase the consumer research.


J.D. Power conducts surveys for the following industries:

  • Automobiles. The first industry served by J.D. Power remains its largest client base. Car companies place a high premium on winning categories, and consumers often count on these ratings when making a car or light truck purchase.
  • Boats. Surveys are conducted for different boating classes, such as pontoon boats, bass boats and express cruisers.
  • Electronics. Consumers often look for J.D. Power's ratings of appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines before making this large household purchase. Ratings of cell phone providers, however, don't seem to hold much sway over the marketplace.
  • Finance, referring to credit card companies, retail banks and investment firms
  • Health care providers, such as pharmacies and hospitals
  • Companies that concern the homeowner, like homebuilders, finance companies, moving companies and even cabinet manufacturers
  • Insurance, which includes insurance companies, home insurers and automobile insurance services
  • Telecom, meaning Internet service providers, cable companies and cell phone services
  • Travel industry, encompassing airlines, hotels and casinos