Cult of Mac

‘Research’ labels iPhone users in China as the ‘invisible poor’

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.

The iPhone is a coveted totem of status in most parts of the world. In the United Arab Emirates, the wealthy elite buys them two at a time.

But to carry an iPhone in China means you’re less educated and trying to hide dire financial straits. The well-off prefer Huawei or Xiaomi smartphones.

This according to research conducted by the Shanghai firm Mobdata, which looked at income and education backgrounds of smartphone users.

Consider the backdrop. China is one of the most competitive markets and Apple has made no secret of trying to grow its small share there.

Apple iPhones are expensive and even considered out of reach for the average Chinese consumer. Apple has 9 percent of the market largely because of price breaks on older models, like the iPhone 6.

The four biggest smartphone makers in China – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi – have about 80 percent of the market.

Huawei likes to publicly throw shade on Apple as if trying to draw the iPhone maker into a social media battle. So the firm’s conclusion, reported today in the South China Morning Post seems dubious, like someone is trying to class to influence consumers.

According to Mobdata, most iPhone users are unmarried women ages 18 to 34 with a high school education and a monthly income of 3,000 yuan. “They are perceived to be part of a group known as the ‘invisible poor,’ those who do not look as poor as their financial circumstances,” according to the Morning Post article.

Huawei phone users are generally married men ages 25 to 34 with a college degree and an income ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 yuan. Huawei users own homes and cars, while iPhone users do not, according to Mobdata.

Mobdata did not disclose the number of respondents surveyed.

Source: South China Morning Post