Owning an iPhone is the most common sign of wealth

“A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, highlighted by Business Insider, aims to infer demographics based on consumer behavior and media consumption,” Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac. “According to the research, the iPhone is the most common status symbol of wealth.”

“The paper comes from University of Chicago economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica,” Miller reports. “In their research, Bertrand and Kamenica found that no individual brand is as predictive of ‘high-income’ as owning an iPhone. ‘Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016,’ the paper reads. The paper explains that owning an iPhone gives the researchers a 69.1 percent chance of correctly inferring that the owner was so-called ‘high-income.'”

“Owning an iPad can also be a good indicator of wealth according to the research, though to a slightly lesser extent at 66.9 percent,” Miller reports. “‘Knowing whether someone owns an iPad in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 67 percent of the time,’ they write.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Duh.

“All men are created equal.”

Well, not when it comes to users of smartphones and tablets…

The bottom line: Those who settle for Android devices are not equal to iOS users. The fact is that iOS users are worth significantly more than Android settlers to developers, advertisers, third-party accessory makers (speakers, cases, chargers, cables, etc.), vehicle makers, musicians, TV show producers, movie producers, book authors, carriers, retailers, podcasters… The list goes on and on.

The quality of the customer matters. A lot.

Facile “analyses” that look only at market (unit) share, equating one Android settler to one iOS user, make a fatal error by incorrectly equating users of each platform one-to-one.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, all users are simply not equal.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, November 15, 2014

Android is pushed to users who are, in general:

a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar ($100 Gift Cards with Purchase) offers.

Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskate freetards just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle building powders or grease monkey overalls.

Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong.

Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.

iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the Hee Haw demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.MacDailyNews, November 26, 2012

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s App Store is destroying Google Play in services and subscriptions – April 18, 2018
Apple App Store users spent nearly double that of Google Play users in Q417 – January 26, 2018
Apple’s iOS continues to attract content apps first, despite smaller unit share – October 30, 2017
Bernstein: Google to pay Apple $3 billion this year to remain the default search engine on iPhones and iPads – August 14, 2017
Higher income U.S. states use Apple iPhones; lower income states use Samsung Galaxy phones – September 27, 2016
iOS users are worth 10X more than those who settle for Android – July 27, 2016
Apple’s App Store revenue nearly double that of Google’s Android – April 20, 2016
Poor man’s iPhone: Android on the decline – February 26, 2015
Study: iPhone users are smarter and richer than those who settle for Android phones – January 22, 2015
Why Android users can’t have the nicest things – January 5, 2015
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Android users poorer, shorter, unhealthier, less educated, far less charitable than Apple iPhone users – November 13, 2013
IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – November 13, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
iPhone users smarter, richer than Android phone users – August 16, 2011
Study: Apple iPhone users richer, younger, more productive than other so-called ‘smartphone’ users – June 12, 2009

30 Comments

      1. The research study was lame. It compared on maketing firm’s guesstimates of wealth for 6300 people and compared Apple to such consumer brands as Kikkomans and Land o Lakes and Ziploc.

        If you think this is a useful study, more power to you. I see zero point in this study and article.

  1. Absolute RUBBISH. In my workplace (UK) i see well earning Doctors on Andriod phones and janitors on iPhone. No disrespect to any janitors but such reporting has no bearing in real life

  2. “Owning an iPhone is the most common sign of wealth”

    “MacDailyNews Take: Duh.”

    Today anyone can easily own an iPhone. There are no more contracts and all carriers will finance any phone. They add the charges to your monthly bill for two years or less.

    So much for “Duh”

    1. Seriously ? Lol

      “no individual brand is as predictive of ‘high-income’ as owning an iPhone”

      Lets see:
      Ferrari? Lambo, , Mclaren, Porsche, Patek Phillip, Hermes …. i can go on and on..

      Lets see
      U drive to a busy, happening restaurant in you laFerrari .. get out with your Patek Phillip on your wrist and your girl in Hermes (and a like) head to toe..
      but it was when u pulled that iPhone out that made people go Woow !

      Right !

  3. People buy and sell them on Craigslist, I know people who live paycheck to paycheck who have the latest iPhone.

    I’ve never considered it a measure of wealth, the wealthiest guy I know has a $20 burner phone lol

    1. I agree that MDN’s take is over the top as usual. However, the truth is there are better customers with more disposable income who value quality. That doesn’t mean those people are fans or have abdicated anything. They understand that you get what you pay for. Those are good customers to have. I seek them in my own business. Apple has that type of customer wrapped up. That happens to also be good for the stock but don’t make the mistake of thinking anything a good customer or even a fan does has any impact on Apple’s stock. Nothing you or I say or do can have any impact at all on the stock price. The market will set that on a large scale and do a pretty poor job of it if you ask me.

            1. Ridiculous. It is a simple matter to recognize the advantages of Apple’s stock as an investment and also be a strong advocate of users. The point I didn’t make well enough is there is no ‘pro-stock’ position that is even possible to take. Apple can’t control how the market values them any more than you or I can. Other than buybacks which sets a reasonable floor the stock price is largely out of their hands and out of our hands. I can certainly take advantage of the market undervaluing Apple and I have and will continue to do so. That isn’t a pro-stock position it is smart investing.

              Furthermore in consumer companies there is strong alignment of customers and financial health. The interests of each are not in opposition. It is the opposite of what you think.

            2. “You cannot root bith for Apples profit and for things that lower that profit in the user’s favor.”

              That is a red herring. Apple’s stock price is notoriously disconnected from their profit due to the market misunderstanding the fundamentals of Apple’s business in much the same way that you are misunderstanding that Apple making a profit is in opposition to its customers or as you call them users. Sorry to ask this but am I talking to an adult? You don’t seem to understand some basic concepts of business.

            3. I am an adult utterly disinterested in Apple’s business.

              Be it my car, my house, my computers, my clothes, I try to buy the highest quality at the lowest price. My sellers try to sell me at the highest price. At some point there is equilibrium, but they have to earn my money every day.

              Rooting for a stock is not a consumer’s problem, it’s an investor’s problem. Schmuck!

  4. Wow! I see fast-food servers using iPhones which are usually the medium-priced versions. iPhones certainly can come as part of a carrier contract so I’d hardly think using an iPhone means a person is wealthy. I suppose wealth is a relative thing. It’s a shame these sorts of articles get tossed around. There doesn’t seem to be much truth in it.

    1. Again, it’s news of a research study’s results, not an opinion article.

      There’s nothing being “tossed around” here except for findings of fact: Owning an iPhone is the most common sign of wealth.

  5. You mean the ER aide who makes just over minimum wage at my hospital is wealthy because she has an iPhone? Somehow I doubt it. We see lots of poor patients with iPhones and a fair number of well off people with Androids. My Bro is an IP Attorney and he has never owned an iPhone, the ER Doc I was working with yesterday has not, either.

    They did not teach me this nonsense about a cell phone being a sign of wealth at the University and I took both survey Micro and Macro Economics as an undergrad.

    Many people make aspirational purchases who really cannot or can ill afford them. Witness the recent trend of blue collar “Blessed” license plate people (“name it and claim it” sheeple) driving used BMWs, Audis and Benzes. A few even lease a new one for more than their rent or mortgage.

    I will leave you with something that happened earlier this year at the dealership. The sales manager at the local Mercedes dealership was in with his Volkswagen for interval service. When the sales manager is buying a VW and a school teacher is driving around in the Benzes his employees sell, it tells you the theorem about wealth and iPhones is less than concrete.

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