iPhone owners can fool people they’re rich, says research

For a long time, people have associated iPhones with high-class status and now there’s a research that backs it up. Read on to find out more.

A man talks on his iPhone at a mobile phone store in New Delhi, India, July 27, 2016. [Representational Image]Reuters

Apple devices have always been a symbol of status. Owning an iPhone in the early 2000s was nothing short of flaunting poshness, and these days where an iPhone can easily cost up to $1,000 it is an even greater symbol of luxury lifestyle. Don’t think so? Just try taking out your iPhone X in public and you’ll easily attract some attention.

While iPhones and iPads not only stand for their status, they’re also extremely convenient to use (try convincing an iOS user otherwise). But it’s an undeniable fact that an iPhone or an iPad can portray you as someone with a wealthy background. Don’t believe us? Researchers at the University of Chicago have a detailed paper just to prove this fact.

According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, owning an iPhone is a trait of someone with a “high income.” But it does not necessarily mean that owning an iPhone will immediately label you as a rich person, when in fact it is the product and the brand with which the product is associated with suggests a person belongs to an affluent class.

A customer views the iPhone X upon its release in the U.K on November 3, 2017 in London, England.Carl Court/Getty Images

“Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016,” researchers Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica wrote in their paper.

The economists found that a person who uses an Apple iPhone or iPad can say he has high income and be right 69 or at least 66 percent of the time. The researchers came to this conclusion based on the data from Mediamark Research Intelligence with a sample size of 6,394 in 2016.

Even though there’s a high possibility of successfully flaunting your elite status with an Apple product, the research also shows other strong indicators of someone’s high-income status, such as owning an Android phone (right 59.5% of the time) and using Verizon Wireless network (61% accuracy).

On a broader scale, the research sheds light on how consumer behaviour has changed over the years. It may hold true that owning an iPhone in 2016 could correctly infer the owner has a high income, but in previous years it was using Land O’ Lakes Regular (butter) or Grey Poupon Dijon (mustard) that linked to high-income households in 2004 and 1992, respectively.

Below is the list of top 10 indicators for a high-income household in their highest probability order:

  • Own an iPhone (69.1%)
  • Own an iPad (66.9%)
  • Used Verizon Wireless (61%)
  • Own an Android phone (59.5%)
  • Used Kikkoman (soy sauce) (59%)
  • Own HP (printer/ fax machine) (58.2%)
  • Used AT&T (cellular network) (58.1%)
  • Own Samsung TV (58%)
  • Used Cascade Complete (57.6%)
  • Used Ziploc (plastic bag) (57.5%)

Do you side with this research or disagree? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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