We have recently been examining the case that Android phones are bought by poor people while Apple’s iPhones serve the 1% (or at least the richest 11.7% of the market).
“Poor” is a relative term here, and some people don’t like hearing it. See the comments under this story, for instance.
We’re talking about “the poor” in a macroeconomic sense. Per capita income in the U.S. is about $47,000 annually. In India it’s just $3,560, according to the World Bank. One of these groups is “poor” by comparison.
Yesterday, market research group IDC published some data that makes this case far more cogently than we’ve been able to so far.
Look at this chart (right) of smartphone market share broken down by price. Nearly 60% of Android phones sold cost less than $200. Android’s core market barely bothers with the $200 to $400 midrange, and only about 20% of sales are in the premium $400-plus area:
Apple, with its iOS mobile operating system, by contrast, sells the vast majority of its devices — more than 80% — in the $400-plus range. The company barely bothers with the midrange, and it sells zero phones under $200.
Android phone makers could price their wares in the $200 to $400 range — but they don’t. They sell most phones for $200 or less. That strongly suggests that Android makers know there is a huge chunk of the market that is price-sensitive on phones.
Price isn’t an exact proxy for consumer income of course. Some people who buy a $200 phone can afford a $400 but choose the cheaper one anyway.
Nevertheless, it is also true that anyone who buys an Apple phone at $400-plus can also afford a $200 handset but chooses not to. Meanwhile, anyone who can afford only a $200 phone cannot, by definition, buy an Apple phone.
Those people are “Android people,” whether they like it or not.
Don’t assume this is just a few poor people skewing Android’s numbers, by the way. Eighty-five percent of all smartphones sold are Android phones. Android is good proxy for all of humanity, in other words, and humanity mostly wants a smartphone for under $200.