The iPhone: a low-rent gadget?
According to Comscore's market researchers, Apple's iPhone smartphone is not just a high-tech toy for big earners or a sleek communication device for businesspeople. The firm reports that between June and August this year, a striking number of US households with annual incomes of less that $75,000 (about £35,000) bought iPhones; the rising trend was especially pronounced in the group with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000. Comscore speculates that the device's versatility may help to save its users money.
Comscore analyst Jen Wu observes that a device such as the iPhone, which costs $200 to purchase then another $70 a month to rent, may seem like an extravagant accessory for low-income households. However, since the iPhone combines multiple functions in one device, serving as a telephone, internet access device, digital camera, and media player, it could save costs associated with all of the different devices and services that it replaces – and it offers these savings at a time of particular economic hardship.
The Wall Street Journal reports that recently there has been a trend in the US toward replacing hardwired Internet connections with mobile telephones. The publication also points out that there is a trend away from DSL connections. Whatever the case, Verizon Wireless reportedly had 90,000 fewer DSL users in the last quarter.
Comscore based its report on information from 34,000 US mobile telephone users. According to the firm's observations, the number of iPhone users rose by 21% between June and August. In the $25,000 to $49,999 income group there was a growth of 48%. In this income group, smartphone use increased by total of 16%, while the overall average was 12%.
The market researchers determined that the use of mobile web browsers and mobile music grew at greater than average rates in this income group as well. In the $50,000 to $74,999 group, iPhone use increased by 46%, while in households with incomes between $75,000 and $99,999 the growth rate was three percent and those with incomes of more than $100,000 grew by 16%.