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Should Middle-class Indians need to buy an Apple iPhone?

iPhone 14 Pro

Few months ahead of the launch of Apple iPhone 15 series, or few days after Apple’s first store in India at Mumbai and Delhi, CEO of Apple, Tim Cook said that he’s seeing a lot of people entering the middle class in India and “I’m hopeful that we can convince some number of them to buy an iPhone,” – which is what made me to write this article.

Apple iPhone is one of the best-selling smartphone brands and is marching forth with great surge in expanding its customers, as many android users are switching to Apple. I am not an apple-hater nor eyeing to brainwash people to not go for an iPhone. The uniqueness of the brand will sell for itself.

However, let me put certain aspects in the perception of business, for you to rethink your financial buying decisions before falling for societal status.

Worth of Apple iPhone

Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in 2007 and the brand is unbeatable in records over a decade. Apple iPhone was the foremost tech player, introducing many new features that smartphone world had ever seen, starting from pinch-to-zoom feature in images.

The brand’s computing power, security and royalty had created a craze among people to get it in their hands. And the Apple logo at the back of iPhones, which many of you might not know that it is also a button, boosted the craziness in people, though it’s not officially uttered.

Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs’ marketing strategy made iPhones trustworthy and a symbol of elite, which eventually helped greatly in its business.

Apple iPhone across Countries

iPhone 14 Series
iPhone 14 Series

Originated in US, Apple & its services are now available in nearly 175 countries worldwide with US, Europe, and China the first three biggest market-place for the firm. Japan and Rest of Asia Pacific follows in the list.

We all know iPhone is the best-selling apple product and its price is not constant everywhere. With US as its prime revenue source, accounting nearly to 40% of Apple’s total revenue, every Apple product, especially iPhone is available at the cheapest price in the country. The cost of iPhone 14 series, for instance, is the highest in Turkey, Brazil and India.

Here is a table to give you a glance of how the price-tag of iPhone 14 varies across countries.

CountryiPhone 14iPhone 14 PlusiPhone 14 ProiPhone 14 Pro Max
US$799 (₹63,657)$899 (₹71,624)$999 (₹79,590)$1099 (₹87,565)
Price Comparison of iPhone 14 Series in different countries. All the prices mentioned are iPhone’s cost-price converted to INR using the currency-conversion rate on the date of launch of iPhone 14 series.

As you can see, US and India have a variation of ₹16,250 with iPhone 14, rising up to ₹52,335 with iPhone 14 Pro Max and ₹50,310 with iPhone 14 Pro.

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iPhone and Middle Class People

Apple iPhone

Here comes the core of this article – the impact of iPhone in countries. If you correlate the data above with the average income of middle-class people in US, and India, you’ll get an idea of what iPhone means in US and India.

In US, a report by Pew Research Center defines middle-class Americans as those who earn between $47,189 to $141,568 (₹39,12,227 to ₹1,17,765) annually. Monthly, the price comes around $3930 (₹3,25,800), even if we take the lowest $47,189. This is about 393% the cost of iPhone 14 Pro or ‘with $3930, an average middle-class American can buy three iPhone 14 Pros with his/her monthly income and still left over with $933 (₹77,350)’. This is not the case in India.

In India, Pew Research center’s report in 2021 states that people who earn between ₹24,871 to ₹49,740 per month (₹3 lakhs to ₹6 lakhs) as the country’s middle-class people. Even if it is to be estimated that it surged 20% in 2022, it will be around ₹3.6 lakhs to ₹7.2 lakhs annually (or ₹30,000 to ₹60,000/month).

Surprisingly, if we take the highest value of income defined for middle-class Indians (in US, we took the lowest value), i.e., ₹60,000 / month, you would need three months’ salary to buy iPhone 14 Pro in India.

Average Middle-Class Monthly Salary₹3,25,800₹60,000
Cost of iPhone 14 Pro₹79,590₹1,29,900
How many iPhone 14 Pros can be bought in 1 month salary?30.46 ~ 0
Cost of iPhone correlated with middle-class people’s salary.

This is ridiculous financially, to perceive middle-class people spending entire two months’ salary on a smartphone. To add on this, 70% of iPhone purchases in India are on EMIs, a report says. Why would anyone buy a smartphone in EMI? – Maybe the phone is worthy enough to help for their daily uses or could be for brand-value, which is nothing but to earn societal status.

This could also mean 70% of people have the urge to be socially recognized as same as the 30% of people whose iPhone purchase doesn’t bother their income-flow.

Though it is a brilliant business for Apple, to convince people to spend this much of money for an iPhone, it’s concerning from a layman’s perspective.

India is a country where emotions are naturally abided and valued more in people’s lives and the brand-strategy of businesses, that falsely uplifts people to a societal status, are working pretty well here.

Not a disrespect to all iPhone holders, but just insisting to be sure and conscious why you want to make a purchase. “Owning any product to gain societal status is a mental flaw.”

So, no middle-class Indian should buy an iPhone?

Apple iPhone’s processor chip is the one of the most powerful processors in smartphones. In fact, iPhone 14 Pro & 14 Pro Max’s A16 Bionic Chip is the most powerful processor chip that had ever existed. With such a powerful chip, it’s technically good to own one, but not for scrolling the Instagram-reels, maintaining snap-streak or to ‘look cool’ reasons.

If you’re really into harvesting a much of computing power in a smartphone for business or any project or money-oriented reasons, then you might get an iPhone.

Or if your monthly salary is twice that of a cost of an iPhone, then it would not be a financially-ill-decision for buying it. There’s a saying called “If you can’t buy it twice, don’t buy it”. Things might work economically good, if you catch up the saying for your life.

Have a good and “meaningful” shopping!

(For more such interesting informational, technology and innovation stuffs, keep reading The Inner Detail).

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