New study in China shows it’s the poor who buy iPhones, while the rich use Huawei phones

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MobData, a research agency based in Shanghai, recently released a report showing iPhone users have less education and fewer assets than those who use Huawei or Xiaomi phones.

The majority of iPhone users are single females who are between 18 and 34 years old, high cool graduates and earn less than 3,000 yuan (S$ 600) monthly.

These are members of what is known as the “invisible poor”— or people who may not appear to be as poor as what their financial circumstances actually present.

In contrast, Huawei phone users are somewhat older males (in the 25 to 34-year-old category), married, bachelor’s degree holders and who earn between 5000 to 20,000 yuan monthly (S$ 990-4,000). Many of them also own their own cars and apartments.

The study also shows that phones from Huawei and Xiaomi are preferred by those who graduated from college, while above half of Vivo and Oppo phone users have a salary of 3000-1000 yuan (S$ 600-2,000) every month. Meanwhile, people who use iPhones earn the least in the study, 3000 yuan (S$ 600) and less per month.

Apple’s iPhones have gotten more expensive every year, which has caused more people to choose less expensive options, especially for the living in developing economies, such as India and Brazil, who have been favoring Huawei and OnePlus phones with more frequency lately.

Read related: Apple threatened by new phones from China

The tech giant has shown signs of trouble recently, with fewer-than-expected sales of the newest iPhone, the iPhone XR, and lowered orders from their suppliers.

Read related: Apple shrinks orders for new iPhone models—Wall Street Journal

But older iPhone models are still popular in China, especially the iPhone 6, 6S and 6S Plus, which came out in 2014 and 2015. Apple holds a 9 percent market share in China, as seen in a Counterpoint research note last month. In the world, Apple ranks third, after Samsung and Huawei, who hold the number one and two places respectively.

Hawei, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Oppo are the top four smartphone vendors in the country, with an 80 percent combined market share.