Info and Answers
Study: Consumers Prefer Installers for Tech Support
A report from The NPD Group says many consumers shun big-box support services in favor of independent installers.
Home Networking
May 03, 2007 by Toni Kistner

If you’ve been dreaming of quitting your day job to launch a digital home installer business, now’s a good time. 

CompTIA, a global IT trade association that offers training and certification programs, recently launched a new program for digital home technology integrators. The program is geared toward two types of installers: A/V equipment or computer repair. The exams test knowledge of LAN configurations and operating systems, and were developed with help from Best Buy’s Geek Squad and Circuit City’s Fire Dog Team of in-home tech support engineers. Certification costs $180 for CompTIA members and $225 for non-members. For more on the Comptia certification, go to

What about competition from Geek Squad and Fire Dog? More bark than bite, according to a new report from The NPD Group. “The Consumer Perspective on Warranties, Installations, and Tech Support” found that while many consumers make their initial purchases at big-box stores, most shun big-box tech support services in favor of independent installers.

“In many cases they [consumers] prefer the comfort and personal service that the locally based service providers can offer,” writes Stephen Baker, NPD’s industry analysis VP.

Installation is a chief area where consumers opted for someone other than the big-box retailers, according to the report, which asked 3,000 consumers their IT preferences. Of those who purchased installation services for their desktop computers in the past year, 52 percent did so from either an independent installer or directly from the manufacturer. Only 27 percent purchased installation services from big-box chains.

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Toni Kistner - Contributing Writer
Toni Kistner is a technology writer living in Cambridge, Mass. Her main focus is networking and wireless technology.

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