Business Insider: Psychology helps Apple dominate the smartphone market

UC marketing professor says some consumers use their phones to display elitism

Apple has been extremely successful in positioning the iPhone as the cool phone, Business Insider reported, and now the Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit that accuses the company of stiffing competition.

Joshua Clarkson headshot

Joshua Clarkson, PhD, Arthur Beerman Professor of Marketing Department of Marketing

The lawsuit alleges that Apple has taken measures to create a monopoly in the smartphone market, which includes making text messages from non-iPhones appear in green bubbles. The colors of text message bubbles are seen as a form of peer pressure.

Critics say Apple promotes conspicuous consumption, which is when consumers display social standing or wealth through their purchases.

“Consumers who seek approval of others or are motivated by social dominance engage in conspicuous consumption to showcase their elitism to others,” said Joshua Clarkson, PhD, the Arthur Beerman Professor of Marketing in the University of Cincinnati's Carl H. Lindner College of Business. “You could imagine both of these groups of consumers being heavily vested in iMessage (i.e., to not be the person with the Android on the group chat) as either a way to fit in (if seeking others' approval) or a way to exclude others (if driven by social dominance).”

See more from Business Insider.

Featured image at top: A person uses an iPhone. Photo/Onur Binay via Unsplash

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