Frequently Asked Questions – Canstar Blue

Canstar Blue rates customer satisfaction across a wide range of products and services, with the core purpose of helping consumers make better purchase decisions. The ratings are based on professional market research to determine the perceptions of consumers who have recently purchased and / or used the specific products and services. The independent results are freely available to consumers via our website.

This information is not medical advice, and Canstar Blue is not making a recommendation or giving advice about medications or health related products. Always seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist to find the right medication for you.   

We partner with respected professional market research agencies who undertake research on our behalf. We currently utilise Colmar Brunton, Australia’s largest independently owned Australian market research agency, and I-view, an independent market research agency ranked third in the global research industry. All agencies we employ are members of AMSRS, the peak body for Australia’s market and social research industry.

In most categories, the sample is broadly representative of the Australian population in terms of gender, age and location and is based on ABS data. Due to low incidence in other categories, the sample may be representative of those consumers who have had experience with the category researched. Only people who have used the specific product or service within a nominated time frame are able to answer the questions and be included in the survey results.

For example, only people who had purchased and consumed multivitamins in the last twelve months were included in the multivitamins results. The time frame specified for consumption or usage depends on the product or service category that is being researched.

In most categories, we receive survey responses from 3,000 people across a broad cross section of the Australian population for each category. We only include results from the respondents from this group who have used the product or service within the nominated time frame. In some low incidence categories, we receive survey responses from between 800 and 1,000 targeted consumers, who have had experience with the category researched.

The survey:

  • The surveys are delivered through the research companies’ online panels, as well as any external panels they may engage.
  • Colmar Brunton’s panel is Your Source, which consists of more than 100,000 active members.
  • The I-view panel is around 180,000 active members.
  • Respondents rate their satisfaction with the products or services at a brand level on a zero to ten scale, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied.

The ratings:

  • The criteria that are rated vary depending on the category.  They typically include overall satisfaction and value for money, while other criteria are included on an ‘as-needs’ basis.  For example, customer satisfaction ratings for a retailer might include criteria such as service and range, while ratings for a refrigerator will include criteria such as reliability and quality.
  • The winner in each category is the one that receives the highest overall satisfaction rating once the scores from all respondents are combined and averaged.
  • Overall satisfaction is asked as a specific question. This means the overall satisfaction criteria represents an individual measure rather than a combined total of all criteria. As a result, some brands may find their overall satisfaction score is lower – or higher – than the scores they have received for other criteria.
  • When we cannot determine a clear winner from the criteria for the overall satisfaction rating, we will then look at the supporting criteria. The brand with the highest number of five star ratings within the supporting criteria will become the five star recipient in overall satisfaction, and thus win the award.
  • If a clear leader still cannot be determined from the supporting criteria, then joint winners will be declared.
  • For each criteria, any brand that receives 6 out of 10 or higher receives at least three stars and any brand that scores lower than 6 out of 10 receives one or two stars.

Canstar Blue is committed to making our customer satisfaction ratings freely available to consumers via our website. The business is privately owned by shareholders and continues to invest heavily in professional market research, so there are three ways in which revenue is generated:

  • Ratings licenses:  Once category winners have been determined, the brands have the opportunity to license their award for use in their marketing for a negotiated fee (however there is no requirement to do so). Each category is run approximately every 12 months, and the market research remains independent and undertaken by a 3rd party in Colmar Brunton.
  • Online advertising:  Canstar Blue allows limited advertising on the website. Our primary intention is to present quality advertising that is highly relevant to consumers. We always include an ‘advertising’ or ‘sponsored link’ sign above the ad so people know exactly what it is.
  • Lead commissions: On our ratings results tables, and also on some advertising, we may provide links to third party sites. The primary purpose of these links is to help consumers continue their shopping journey from the ‘research’ phase to the ‘purchasing’ phase. If customers purchase something after clicking a certain link, we may be paid a commission by the affiliate company. Our ratings results, and the manner in which we sort data in our product comparison tables, are not influenced by commercial arrangements.

Brands must receive a minimum of 30 responses to be included in the ratings. The market research is designed to pick up as many brands per category as relevant. However, some brands may miss out due to low sample size – for example small local or niche brands where their market share is currently low. A rated brand may also receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

We are not a price comparison or shopping website, and typically we don’t collect data on individual products, models or plans as part of our research. We do not offer personalised consumer advice, but rather convey the real voice of the consumer (as per our survey findings) and report independent market research results in the form of ratings. These ratings can help consumers to find better brands to put on their shopping list.

Please note that CANSTAR does compare individual finance products at www.canstar.com.au. Additionally, we do have product level information available in certain categories (e.g. Air Conditioners), but we do not use this information as part of our customer satisfaction ratings.

Our published customer satisfaction ratings are the user friendly summary of the market research we conduct through Colmar Brunton. This research is 100% funded by Canstar Blue and valuable as we use the findings to generate ratings and in many other areas of the business.

We do offer an amended research report for purchase to companies interested in learning more about our findings. Please note that this report does not include the raw data collected in our initial research. To find out more, contact our team on enquiries@canstarblue.com.au.

The brands that feature in our ratings are those that have been nominated by respondents in the market research, and who have received a minimum of 30 responses.  We do not choose which brands to include.

Electricity and Natural Gas Providers

Due to different providers in different markets and the varying population levels states and territories, it is often difficult to get a robust sample. As a result, ratings cannot always be provided for electricity and natural gas providers in every state.

We have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that are updated regularly. You can also search for our brandYou can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter to be kept up to date on our latest releases and articles. You can find the signup in the right sidebar next to any ratings article.

Further information about Canstar Blue.