back to article Study: US iPhone owners tend to be rich, educated, white

Google's Android is the most popular smartphone platform in the US market as a whole, but wealthy, highly educated customers still prefer iPhones, according to a new study. The Pew Research Center conducted a telephone survey of 2,252 American adults between April 17 and May 19 of 2013 and found that overall smartphone …


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  1. ThomH

    I think the vendors are quite open about the fashion side

    Samsung are probably most explicit with their adverts full of 'haha, these people are sheep' (ie, thoughtlessly following the prevailing fashion) or 'of course they use an iPhone, they're old' (as old is the antithesis of fashionable per advertisers), but that's only because they explicitly want to put the negative association onto the competitor. Apple's adverts are just as much about fashion — the iPhone is sleek and modern — but less explicitly because it doesn't work if you just stand up and plainly claim to be fashionable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does this mean

      That Blackberry users are more likely to be politicians and drug dealers and Android users are in the dole?

      1. Lallabalalla

        Re: Does this mean

        Yes. Yes it does.

    2. LarsG

      Once you get to a certain age

      I used to love fixing my old Alfa Romeo when I was 18, messing with twin carbs,, adding an Ansa exhaust alloy wheels. Getting it to go faster, making it louder.....

      Then one day I wanted more comfort, a quieter car, got fed up with oil dripping on my drive, getting rid of rust....

      I just wanted something that was quick, quiet, worked and was so reliable that I just needed it serviced once in a while.

      That is the target market for the iPhone, it's for the 'been there done that and had a wild time, got a,career, a new car, a house, now I've got kids I want things to work and be frustration free' market.

      I visited London last week, after a 20 year break and reminded myself why I left. Once you get to a certain age....... I don't need that kind od S*** any more.

      1. David 138

        Re: Once you get to a certain age

        I agree with LarsG. Just because you have a degree doesn't mean you can use a computer or technology. This seems to be the market Apple gets. These people also seem to be CEOs, Managers etc. Where i work you can pretty much work out who can and cant use a computer by their phone.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Once you get to a certain age

          > Apple's adverts are just as much about fashion — the iPhone is sleek and modern

          And they also suggest 'simple'. The adverts tend to be in the form of "It lets you do this". When they do promote a feature, they tend to have thought up a catchy name for it that gives some clue as to its purpose, eg FaceTime.

      2. Nifty Silver badge

        Re: Once you get to a certain age

        I am of that certain age and recently moved from Android to IOS. Why is it then that it is such an unbelievable frustrating struggle moving my music and podcasts around now? On Android I had simple folders on the SD card accessible as a USB drive for all that. Plus on IOS, no auto word suggestion when composing messages - which even Android 2.3 had.

  2. Herby

    Studies show Fendi bag users.... be (insert adjectives here).

    Sure any thing that is a 'fashion statement' will have some elitism associated with it. Isn't that what marketing is all about??

    Thankfully the cost of the fashion statement in telephones isn't in excess of $2000 as it can be with handbags (when a wallet will do!).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that difficult, really

    "Just what explains these discrepancies is hard to say."

    No, not really. Apple specifically targets high income earners, whereas there are Android models targeting each income bracket. That explains the discrepancies.


  4. Crazy Operations Guy

    I won't put too much stock in the "More intelligent" comment

    I mean they answered a phone survey and all...

    1. Turtle

      @Crazy Operations Guy: Re: I won't put too much stock in the "More intelligent" comment

      The word "intelligent", let alone the phrase "more intelligent", does not occur in the original article, and, as I write this, it occurs in no posts here other than your own.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Crazy Operations Guy: I won't put too much stock in the "More intelligent" comment

        @Turtle - Maybe the word 'Crazy' in the handle is a clue ..

        'Dumb Operations Guy' and

        'I'm So Busy Trying To Be Clever I Can't Be Bothered To Read Operations Guy'

        might both be taken.

  5. Dana W

    More Apple is all about fashion nonsense.

    The word for Android isn't egalitarian, its ghetto. KIDDING!

    The REALLY fashionable types just want to compare who has the BIGGEST phone. Android has that market hands down. If you want a phone the size of a paperback book, you go Android. I get the android fashionistas all the time telling me Android is in! Its whats cool! Everybody who is anybody has Android! And who has the trendiest model. These days Android is all about fashion and another way for boys to show who has the "biggest".

    But seriously, I never cared about Fashion, I never watch advertizing, not in many years. I go out of my way to AVOID being fashionable. When I bought my first iPhone, there really was nothing else like it, I keep getting them because my partner and I have five Macs and I like the integration. It's worked well for me, never failed me, and the customer service has been top notch.

    If Android meets my needs "Removable battery, expansion slot, and decent warranty support" at some point in a phone NOT made by Samsung, maybe I'll even switch to one. But I really don't want my phone to be a huge pocket tablet. These days ANDROID is for the trendy people to impress each other with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Apple is all about fashion nonsense.

      So, you are an Apple empty-headed imperialist who cannot think. I bet the green cool-ade tastes good no matter how much it costs! :) One more question? Are you working on amassing a large collection of Macs to hopefully open an Apple museum some day? :)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: More Apple is all about fashion nonsense.

        >So, you are an Apple empty-headed imperialist who cannot think

        How did you get that from the survey in question? Or are you basing that on some other equally objective evidence to which you have merely forgotten to supply a reference to?

        The survey results suggest that they can think, but have better things to think about (such as their career and family) than their phones.

      2. Dana W

        Re: More Apple is all about fashion nonsense.

        You didn't even read what I wrote before you replied. That must be fine coolaid your end? Microsoft or "This year is the year of the desktop for sure" LInux?

        Five Macs, paid for one. Three were gifts one is my fiancee's work machine, Mine I paid cash.

        Dollar per dollar it was quite reasonable.

  6. The Mighty Spang

    erm what?

    i remember a post you did a year or so ago about how i**** users were the most in debt compared to android.

    im not sure how education correlates in this.. how paying more for less correlates with education i can only image works like more education = more money = will pay more money for a fashionable brand.

    not 'ive made a rational decision about hardware, os and platforms and i even though i've got an arts degree i know whats the best devce for my banal shit like instagram'

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: erm what?

      According to Felix Dennis, many rich people are technically in debt for tax purposes.

  7. Chairo
    IT Angle

    Who cares about ethnicity?

    They should have sorted their study by profession.

    Perhaps splitting the techies in sub-criteria like Programmers, Web-designers, IT Admins, etc.

    Now that would be a story for El Reg!

    1. Brianski

      Re: Who cares about ethnicity?

      I don't personally know why it has to be a racial thing. So white people like me are more rich?? And that is suppose to be awesome. Whatever happen to fairness? This article is dumb!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Who cares about ethnicity?

        >So white people like me are more rich?

        ' me are richer'.

        To paraphrase (I think it was) Dave Chappelle:

        "There is a difference between being rich and being wealthy. Michael Jordan might be rich, but the man who signs his cheques... he's wealthy".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPhone owners are rich

    Then Android owners are poor. They're also egalitarian. Therefore poor equals egalitarian?

    FWIW, I know a bunch of fairly well to do Linux developers who prefer their Androids – some are almost religiously fanatical about it.

    OTOH I'm a Linux developer who owns an iPhone, but I'm don't get dogmatic about it. I see what their phones do, I know what my phone does; both seem to do pretty much the same thing. I don't see what the big deal is.

    1. andreas koch

      Re: iPhone owners are rich

      iPhone owners are more likely to state a higher income than they actually have, to cloak the fact that they're working at Starbucks...

      1. hplasm

        Re: iPhone owners are rich

        Well, they did claim to be Barristers...

      2. Brianski
        Thumb Up

        Re: iPhone owners are rich

        hahaha. Very true!:)

  9. Eddy Ito

    iPhone economics

    So it's old white folks who buy the most iPhones, big deal, welcome to the U.S. and thanks for pointing out the patently obvious [cue fandroid to make Apple lawsuit joke re: patenting the obvious]. iPhones cost more and are purchased by folks who have more disposable income. Would anyone like to guess what would describe those folks with the most disposable income? Ding! Give the kid a prize 'cause the answer is older white folks.

    Why you ask? Because statistically OWFs have a higher level of education and higher pay because of having had longer careers. I shouldn't need to mention that inner city ghetto schools where most minorities attend aren't usually the best places to get an economic head start in life but I will. Let's face it, the number of white 50 year old PhDs far exceed the number of black 19 year old PhDs even if you compensate for the longer time it takes to graduate from a 4 year program today (see previous link).

    @The Mighty Spang (great handle BTW), who pointed to the piece saying iPhoners had more debt, know that only reinforces the OWF position since they have longer credit histories, better credit scores and quite likely a more expensive car and house. Again, not many 19 year olds running around with an 800+ credit score and half million dollar mortgages even if they want to have an iPhone that says they are better off than they really are.

    So it's OWFs with iPhones, I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! The intern at the PRC (no, not that one) who performed this study should be handed their PhD in DuH, posthaste!

    1. scarshapedstar

      Re: iPhone economics

      Well, also, OWF's don't know a damn thing about technology and don't know what they're missing out on by entering the Apple playpen.

      1. Chairo

        Re: iPhone economics

        People that don't know a damn thing about technology are not missing out anything by entering the Apple playpen.

        Apple blocks a lot of stuff I want to use, namely emulators, network tools, file system access, a terminal emulator and such toys.

        Someone who doesn't know a damn thing about technology has no need for this.

        So their stuff is not for me, but our accountant is quite happy in his walled garden.

      2. Dana W

        Re: iPhone economics

        We miss out on massive malware. I think we can survive it.

        1. M Gale

          Re: iPhone economics

          We miss out on massive malware. I think we can survive it.

          So do I, because I don't run stuff as root if I can help it.

    2. VinceH

      Re: iPhone economics

      "thanks for pointing out the patently obvious [cue fandroid to make Apple lawsuit joke re: patenting the obvious]."

      Oh, okay, but only since you insisted.

      In Apple's case, it would most likely be patently obvious on a mobile device.


  10. Matt_payne666

    not a good test, but I was sent to the laundrette a few months back by a misbehaving washingmachine and I was the only person in there without an iPhone... the attendant and 4 other women... from the looks of them, not all were there because of broken home appliances...

    Over here in blighty an iphone of some description is free on just about any contracted tariff... so its no more elitist than any other phone.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >so its no more elitist than any other phone.


      In the UK, there is a difference between a £20 /month contract (very respectable mid-range Android phone phone or other) and a £35 /month contract (iPhone).

      1. RubberJohnny

        How about a £200 Ebay iPhone 3GS? Bought outright and operated on PAYG?

      2. Matt_payne666

        £35 per month will land you a new iphone5 for free... £20 will get you an iphone4 for free...

        the report doesn't stipulate a particular iphone model and the most common iphone I see is a 4/4s

  11. E.T.

    The article left out survey data...

    Be sure to check out the unaltered "Demographic differences in iPhone and Android Ownership" table from the survey link. This report suspiciously leaves out age and gender data from the infographic.

    That data illustrates that Android is more popular with age groups 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54, while iOS is more popular with age groups 55-64, and 65+. Android is also notably more popular with men, while iOS and Android are split between women.

    The survey would have been more meaningful if they controlled educational attainment percentages based on income bracket. Otherwise income is just a confounding factor.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I am not sure why this is shocking... iPhone is priced to higher than most Android phones and who can afford an expensive piece of CRAP? People with more disposable income..-----Yeah!!!!! Correct answer!!

    So, this proves that richer people are consuming the Apple cool-ade in higher doses while believing that it is superior product when it is not any way you look at it. Android is a more flexible and robust mobile OS and it costs much less, but no, rich people don't like that. More expensive "preserves" their status with the "elites" and schmucks!!

    Right Apple people, right on! You are good behaving slaves of Mr. jobs. Did I forget to mention that I am an exception: I am a rich man, a developer, entrepreneur, and a a proud Nexus user. :)

  13. Dave 126 Silver badge

    >Android is a more flexible and robust mobile OS and it costs much less

    And if the user has no need for that 'flexibility', then why would they want it? Anyway, you're only looking at the OS - if you look at the peripheral hardware available for iDevices, you'll notice that iOS offers more choice and flexability (docks, car integration, wide selection of 3rd party head-phones with remote controls that work, high quality condenser microphones etc). There are also software categories that are better represented in iOS (music creation, graphics creation and mark-up etc), just as I'm sure there are categories that are better supported on Android.

    Whatever, buy whatever device suits you and leave others to do the same.

    1. M Gale

      I'll admit the iDevices have a bunch of manufacturers producing slots on the top of their clock radios and boom boxes that are completely useless for anything other than an Apple device. Many of them now require an adapter to work if you have the i5.

      Headphones, remote controls and hands free devices in cars though? I'm pretty sure there's this thing called "bluetooth". Works on almost any phone, so I hear, although Apple are still having trouble with the file transfer bit. As for the "creation" side of things, have a look in the Play Store. There's DJ apps and virtual synthesizers all over the place. Same with graphics apps. "Mark-up"? As in the gazillions of text editors? Mix that up with the Bit web server and you've got a LAMP-ish stack on your smartphone that you can play around with as much as you like.

      It ain't 2008 any more.

  14. Wang N Staines


    Every chav on my council estate got an iPhone.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rich people can afford more expensive designer-kit shock!

    Coming up next:

    Bears crap in the woods.

    Pope supports Catholic values shock.

  16. RubberJohnny

    I use an iPhone because I have better things to think about than my phone. It does it' s job and I don't need to be sending hours sorting out home screens and widgets thanks.

    Oh, and it was dirt cheap from Ebay and 100% reliable so far.

    1. Wang N Staines

      It's nice to have options, isn't it?

      Oh wait a minute, you don't have those options on the iPhones.

    2. M Gale

      I use an iPhone because I have better things to think about than my phone. It does it' s job and I don't need to be sending hours sorting out home screens and widgets thanks.

      Swap "iPhone" for any particular brand of phone you like and it still sounds the same.

  17. Jim 59

    Study: US iPhone owners tend to be rich, educated, white

    Er, US citizenry as a whole is rich, educated, white.

    But they have taken that into consideration, of course.

  18. TechW

    Not Fanboys then

    "Consider, though, that the Pew study also found that African-Americans were much less likely to own an iPhone than were whites or Hispanics."

    "African-Americans were actually more likely to own a smartphone than either of the other ethnic groups surveyed"

    Well, IMHO, this seems to indicate that the African-Americans are the educated group...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "wealthy, highly educated customers still prefer iPhones"

    Because they still believe that iPhone inflates their status, whilst the rest of us see that that is complete bullshite.

    It says that wealthy, educated also means easily led, and a total MUG!

    You go pay top price for your oh-so-last-decade handset. You deserve to be ripped off. (Doesn't seem very clever for someone who is "educated")

    I know from experience, wealthy/educated also means ZERO common sense. Being a specialist in one area does not mean you are clever at everything, and this proves that!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US, Educated? Pah! don't make me laugh.

  21. Chris Sake

    Rather common, like one's polo shirt

    According to Rob Walker [] writing in Yahoo! []:

    "’s made it easier for me to recognize that the iPhone is, in fact, a totally bourgeois device: The iPhone has become, in its six short years, the technological equivalent of a Polo shirt.

    "Toting a non-Apple device around the world, for the first time in ages, has made me see the Apple-toters with new eyes. If you’ll allow me to be totally and arbitrarily judgmental for a moment: It struck me just how common the iPhone has become. And I mean that in the sense of “not distinguished; not of superior excellence; ordinary,” per definition 4 in my Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary: Deluxe Second Edition. (I’ll stop short of citing definition 7: “not refined; low; coarse.”)

    "Before everyone gets upset, I would actually draw a distinction between Apple in general and the iPhone in particular. The latter has become a brand unto itself, one that has long since crossed over from “cool” (meaning something embraced by a minority that thinks of itself as having elite taste) to “acceptable,” meaning it’s a sort of cultural default, like a Polo shirt or Nike sneakers — or, for that matter, Windows (in its heyday at least).

    "It’s the brand for people who don’t want to think all that hard about what brand they are buying, and just want whatever everybody else will accept without question. It’s bourgeois."

  22. Dana W

    "It struck me just how common the iPhone has become."

    Who cares? Its a phone not a fashion statement. I guess Im not trendy and cool enough for Android. I'll just have a reliable safe iPhone and leave Android to the trendsetters.

    1. M Gale

      Difference is, you got your phone before it was passé. I got mine before it was cool.

  23. tonys66ca

    Over analyzing?

    Affluence can be directly correlated with age also. Something that was not considered is that, generally, age is inversely correlated with technological skill and(or) interest. Many Android users may seek more bang for their buck; some may seek more open architecture. The latter want to play with the technology versus simply playing with the device. So, although younger users generally are less affluent, they generally are more technologically savvy. Could this influence the distribution of Android versus iPhone users across the age brackets? Sometimes over analysis is simply that, really telling you nothing of value. My only observation is iPhone users seem more die-hard fans of their phones and it OS. Maybe that's why affluence is a factor; having the money to trade for the latest version when released. Could it be self-indulgence versus intelligence?

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