Based on longitudinal customer satisfaction data from three durable goods industries in Japan, this study analyzes how economic processes influence customer satisfaction and how these effects vary by product function. Our research hypotheses are based on a conceptual extension of the disconfirmation of expectations theory of customer satisfaction formation. Using principal component and regression analyses, we show that customer satisfaction is positively influenced by economic growth and negatively by economic expectations. These effects, especially the influence of economic expectations, are much stronger for customer satisfaction with peripheral product functions than with core product functions. Quality managers should be aware of mis- interpretations when measuring customer satisfaction to evaluate business performance. Variations in customer satisfaction are not only caused by variations in corporate performance but also by external economic influences.