Want to Look Rich and Smart? Buy an iPhone

Joanna Estrada
July 10, 2018

According to Business Insider, the iPhone has become a source of information when it comes to predicting if an individual belongs to a higher-income class.

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.

What a proclivity for spreading Grey Poupon on an iPhone says about your wealth was not addressed by the researchers. After all, iPhones were only introduced in 2007.

Using Kikkoman soy sauce was the fifth-most-likely indicator at 59%.

"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.

Aside from products, the economists, whose findings were earlier reported on by Business Insider, found that if traveling in the USA, owning a passport, and having Bluetooth in your auto were also high on the list of high-income indicators.

The iPhone is a luxury product that is usually priced higher than competing smartphones. In a sample of almost 10,000 people, owning an iPhone in 2016 gave researchers a 62 percent chance of accurately guessing whether or not someone was educated. Since the data is from 2016, it doesn't take into account the $999 Apple iPhone X that was released in November 2017. The data includes bi-annual questions and info on household income based on a face-to-face interview.

The study (which you can read here) by the research group the National Bureau Of Economic Research found that 69.1 per cent of iPhone users are in the top income bracket in the US. The economists used a machine learning algorithm to conclude that "cultural differences", or how common brands and experiences are across groups, aren't getting larger over time. The economists also looked at consumer behavior and social attitudes across demographics.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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