Apple's Popularity With Gen Z Poses Challenges for Android

Younger Americans prefer Apple over rival companies by significant margins, driving a generational shift toward Apple devices and social pressure, the Financial Times reports.

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According to the report, younger consumers are concerned about being socially ostracised for not having an iPhone – a phenomenon that is driving young people to buy other Apple products and services, leading to growing market share across multiple product categories.

Those born after 1996, also known as Gen Z, compose 34 percent of all ‌iPhone‌ owners in the U.S., compared to just 10 percent for Samsung. For older generations, there is a relatively even split between ‌iPhone‌ and Android users. The ramifications of this shift toward Apple devices among younger people extends beyond iPhones, with these users being much more likely to purchase AirPods, Apple Watches, and Macs.

For every 100 iPhones Apple sells around the world, it also sells 26 iPads, 17 Apple Watches, and 35 pairs of AirPods, according to research by Canalys. For Samsung, every 100 smartphone sales leads to fewer than 11 tablets, six smartwatches, and six pairs of wireless earbuds being sold. This is in spite of the fact that the average selling price of an ‌iPhone‌ is almost three times that of an Android device.

Researchers who advise companies about the preferences of Gen Z consumers told the Financial Times that these customers are the most online of any age group, spending up to six hours a day on their smartphones. As a result, Apple's ecosystem is shaping social decision-making, with particular emphasis on the importance of iMessage as a social signal, necessitated by inferior experiences messaging and using group chats via SMS.

In Europe, where iMessage is less prevalent and Android has a bigger market share, the same trend is similarly visible. Canalys research indicates that 83 percent of Apple users in western Europe under 25 years old plan to keep using an ‌iPhone‌. As Gen Z gets older, this trend is likely to grow and further entrench Apple's market share, making it increasingly difficult for rival companies to capture new customers and make inroads.

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Top Rated Comments

MacWiz_007 Avatar
18 months ago
"According to the report, younger consumers are concerned about being socially ostracized for not having an iPhone". What a sad, sad world we live in.

Edit: For all who are about to post "This isn't new..." I never said it was. Please, re-read above.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BrownyQ Avatar
18 months ago
The social aspect truly is a force to be reckoned with; the younger you are, the more prone you are to being influenced by said pressure.

But setting that aside, you have to give credit where due to Apple for capitalizing on that dedicated userbase by focusing on their core strength: that all their devices work really well together. You can call it insidious or brilliant, but I think it's quite beneficial for the end user.

After a certain age, it's not so much about the social pressure (we do grow out of being pressured into things we don't wanna do by our peers, after all), but the convenience of the products we use. I could theoretically drop all my Apple gear today and jump ship to using Android and Windows, but while most of the functionality is there, along with some extras Apple doesn't have, I can't imagine the convenience of getting it to work well together is. Not without more effort on my part.

And that's what I feel keeps many using the same device, be it Apple or Android, Windows or Mac: it's the path of least resistance, the devil we know versus the one we don't.

It's up to the competition to make their devices more enticing, worth switching over to. Not finding ways to destroy the benefits those already using Apple enjoy just to even the playing field.

... and that was a very long-winded blog post.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
18 months ago
It’s the Apple ecosystem. I love being inside the blue bubble.

Also, iPhones are the best smartphone out there in the world. It’s simple as that.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Red Oak Avatar
18 months ago

Interesting social dilemma for Apple, figure out how to make iMessage universal or focus on profits. I try to teach my kids to not blindly follow, but even I will admit it's pretty damn hard when you can't communicate well with an iPhone user when you have an Android phone.
How? iMessage supports SMS, the common texting protocol. I text with my Android friends fine all the time
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dandyryan Avatar
18 months ago
no one wants to be the green bubble that ruins group chats.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Remy149 Avatar
18 months ago

"According to the report, younger consumers are concerned about being socially ostracized for not having an iPhone". What a sad, sad world we live in.
Young people have always found ways to ostracize each other. This isn’t new when I was growing up it was mostly about what designer clothes you wore
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)