Hi-Tech

IPhone Is The Most Common Symbol Of Wealth, Shows New Research

IPhone Is The Most Common Symbol Of Wealth, Shows New Research

That might not do it for the bank loan officer, but when it comes to fellow consumers, an iPhone (or an iPad) is the most reliable way to appear wealthy, according to a working paper by two University of Chicago economists.

Researchers Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica looked at study participants' media consumption, consumer behaviour, time use or social attitudes over a number of years, and found 69.1 per cent of people who owned an iPhone in 2016 were "predictive of having a high income".

The study - a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper that sought to determine whether United States cultural preferences have changed across various groups over time - found that there's a 69% chance to correctly predict that a household is "high-income" based on the ownership of the said device. "Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016".

As Gizmodo pointed out, owning an iPhone doesn't necessarily mean you're rich.

The research says the iPhone being correlated with high income is just a recent trend. After all, iPhones were only introduced in 2007. In 2004, that was true if you wee a Land O' Lakes Regular user.




In other words, if you guessed that someone was wealthy because they owned an iPhone, or that they were poor because they did not, you would be right 69 percent of the time. The fourth-best brand indicator was if someone used Kikkoman soy sauce-a sign of wealth since 1992, when using Grey Poupon Dijon mustard was the number one indication you had plenty of cash.

Owning an iPad, an Android phone, or using Verizon were also indicators of "high-income".

The iPhone tends to be a luxury product for most. A 64 GB iPhone X costs $999. This paper incorporates data from Mediamark Research Intelligence, which had a sample size of 6,394. The data includes bi-annual questions and info on household income based on a face-to-face interview.

The paper defines "high income" as being in the top quartile of income for a person's household type - so single, married with kids, and so on.

"This take-away runs against the popular narrative of the U.S. becoming an increasingly divided society", the researchers write.


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