Owning an iPhone is the best indicator of wealth, claims research

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The economists inferred demographics based on people's media consumption and consumer behavior and found that "no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone".

In the 2016 study, researchers were able to guess if a person belonged to a household with an income within the top quarter of the population, be it a single adult or two parents and dependents, simply by the subject's disclosure that they own a non-specific iPhone about 69 percent of the time.

Aside from products, the economists, whose findings were earlier reported on by Business Insider, found that if traveling in the USA, owning a passport, and having Bluetooth in your auto were also high on the list of high-income indicators.

To show you how mobile technology has affected Americans, back in 2004, the top brand that was predictive of high income was Land O'Lakes butter, followed by Kikkoman soy sauce. Having a heated seat in your auto or using dishwasher detergent were also good wealth indicators. In 1992, some of the top brands that were associated with wealth in the USA, in no particular order, were Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, Kodak cameras, Kikkoman soy sauce, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

It also noted how status symbols had changed in the past two decades or so. In 1992, it was owning an automatic dishwasher at 71.4 percent and using dishwater detergent at 70.2 percent. Twelve years earlier, Grey Poupon mustard was the most reliable sign of being rich.

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Apple gadgets are famously expensive, with iPads starting at £319 ($417), the latest Apple Watch costing £329 ($427), and a pair of Apple AirPods wireless earbuds retailing at £159 ($206). And through strong branding over the years, it's the iPhone that appears to have remained the top choice for those who can afford it.

After that comes Sony with 2.27 percent, revealing a huge gap in popularity from Android phones compared to pricey iPhones.

The next closest rival is Samsung, which accounts for 28.86 percent of phones sold in the United Kingdom in 2018 so far.

But globally, it's a very different picture - roughly 85 percent of phones in the world run Google's Android software.

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