Since its launch in 2007, the demand for iPhones has remained strong. According to the 2009 data from The Nielsen Company’s Mobile Insights survey, iPhone maintains its influence on general consumer purchasing decisions. It has also become a major factor for choosing a wireless carrier.
Influence of Families and Groups
Families, friends and colleagues strongly contribute to a person's choice of mobile phone. Secondary influences include interaction with various membership, reference, and organizations. A person often buys an item because it fulfills the desire to be acknowledged for it by family, peers and other people he is related to or affiliated with. Another social factor that impacts buying the iPhone is peer pressure; the consumer buys the handset because everyone else is getting it and talking about it.
Media Hype and Branding
Every new release of an iPhone model is covered by various media outlets, including TV, radio news, print and web. Apple itself maintains its official website fully equipped with solid marketing strategies to keep its iPhone branding before the news media. It banks on its image of being a revolutionary handset offering integrated features and converged multimedia services.
Given its many pioneering features that were quickly followed by its competitors, comparisons between an iPhone and other smartphone brands are frequently read and seen in many tech magazines, blogs, podcasts, websites, newspapers and TV and radio features.
Social Proof and Product Value
Apple leverages social proof for the launch of the iPhone, then effectively records and shares its top sales to the general public to affirm the consumer's emotional responses. Social proof is also known as "informational social influence," wherein people who don’t know what action to take (for instance, when choosing which mobile phone handset to buy) tend to rely on the behavior of others to determine their own course of action.
As more individuals base their decisions on "what most people already did" (what is most popular), this becomes a psychological phenomenon. The consumers also tend to perceive that they can get more reliable products and guides when following the majority because significant information is readily available in various venues. From forums discussing the various iPhone concerns to first-hand experiences of families, friends and colleagues, social and consumer forces contribute strongly to the purchase of an iPhone.
- Media Studies: Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion - Chapter 4: Social Proof
- Happy Brain Storming: Social Proof
- NIelsen Wire: When Choosing a Carrier, Does the iPhone Really Matter?
- Row Feeder: Smartphone Market and The Social Media View
- The New York Times: Can Consumer Reports Hurt the iPhone?
Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.