Chinese Iphone ownership is a marker of membership in the "invisible poor"


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a research report from Shanghai’s MobData found that Iphone

Your commitment to avoiding CamelCaps appears to be slipping, Cory.


Which phone offers encryption ?


That’s the weirdest example of conspicuous consumption I’ve heard about - buying something expensive, presumably for the status, that ironically indicates a lack of wealth. That must be true in the West as well - I wonder if certain brands of streetwear have similar dynamics.


While I don’t know enough to dispute this, I’d take any anti-apple/pro-china news coming out of China with several grains of salt.


Do you actually know any such examples?


Definitely true. It was the weirdest thing for old-school Apple users when the iPhone came out and was considered a “prestige” device. Mac users were used to being underserved and ridiculed for decades and all of a sudden it’s a status symbol. Strange days.



Burberry springs to mind…


Anything Trump-branded comes to mind.



Of conspicuous consumption that actually indicates the opposite? No, which is why this strikes me as weird.
But thinking about it, the existence of brands which exist purely for the purposes of conspicuous consumption, where some of them are highly popular within demographics that don’t have much money, there must surely be other examples.

Well, Macs became “cool.” But they never indicated one didn’t have money (especially as they became increasingly expensive). They lacked “nerd cred” - which was the only thing that made one type of computer cool, until there was the cultural shift where computing devices also became fashion accessories. (Which allowed this weird dynamic with the iPhone in China.)

Certainly it’s the opposite of conspicuous consumption, though part of that is because Trump-branded-goods are cheap shit (even if they’re overpriced). They’ve hit this other, related paradox of simultaneously being aspirational goods while also being cheap shit.


Did Huawei hire Roger Stone?



Streetwear strikes me as likely containing examples of conspicuous consumption brands where ownership is an indication of poverty. Luxury goods targeting non-luxury demographics.


This is supported with findings from books like the “millionaire next door” - true wealth can be in the small business owner and people creating assets, not having boats, jetskis, cars via debt, status credit cards and the like.


You may assume that a person with an iPhone also lives in an expensive apartment, because they seem to have a high disposable income. But if you never see them go home, you only see the phone, which is portable. So the phone is a cheap indication of wealth.


I’d take any anti-apple/pro-china news coming out of China Cory with several grains of salt.


It’s more complicated than that because while old-school Macs lacked “nerd cool” as they were seen as tools for users rather than programmers, as soon as OS X came out they became the preferred system for nerds as they had both the command line interface needed for serious work as well as supporting Office and Outlook, which, while certainly unnerdy and uncool, are often required in the business (and sadly even the academic) world.


Adidas is pretty famous as the “bling” brand for Eastern Europe.