Are Mac owners wealthier and more glamorous than their PC counterparts? …they certainly spend more

studying web visitors by browser

I use Sitemeter, a service that counts visits and page views on PSI for me.  Among other pieces of information Sitemeter tosses in for free is the operating system visitors use.  In my case, it’s 65% Windows, 22% Mac and the rest Linux.  (In case you’re interested, the blog has several hundred regular readers through email and Twitter, plus a large number I can’t detect who receive it daily through readers.  Half of the blog’s visitors live in the US.  About a quarter come from Europe.  Most of the rest live in the Pacific Basin, with a smattering of page views from Africa and the Middle East.  No Antarcticans that I’m aware of.)  The service costs me less than $100 a year.  Wordpress, which hosts PSI, provides a similar, but less detailed set of data for free.

the Orbitz experience

According to the Wall Street Journalanalysis by Orbitz shows that Mac users who buy hotel rooms from the website pick trendier, and more expensive, hotels than their PC counterparts.  Mac users also spend up to 30% more for their overnight accommodations.

Having figured this out, Orbitz has begun to show Mac users a hipper and more expensive set of hotels when they visit than it offers to PC users.  It does this both by altering the selection of the hotels you see and their placement order on the page.  Orbitz says it doesn’t show the same room at different prices, based on the OS shoppers use.  Mac users just see different merchandise higher on the page.

I have two–no, three–reactions

–Good for Orbitz.

–More reinforcement for the high-status image of AAPL products.

–The chances of Mac users getting a bargain when shopping online will soon be only slightly north of those of a guy who rolls up to a bricks-and-mortar store in a Panamera and uses an Amex black card to pay.

mor evidence of AAPL status

The Orbitz phenomenon isn’t the only sign cited by the Journal of the higher wealth and higher willingness to spend of Mac users.

–Forrester says the average annual household income of Mac users in the US is $98,000+ vs. $74,000+ for PC households (the US average is about $60,000).

–according to BIGinsight.com, iPhone uses are wealthier than Android or Blackberry users

–social gamers on APPL devices spend 6x as much as Android gamers (Newzoo)

–tablet users, which effectively means iPad users, place bigger online orders than laptop- or desktop-piloting customers (Forrester, Shop.org)

–same thing for iPhone users vs. others (IBM).

my take

Personally, I find the psychology of status goods to be fascinating.  People want to exhibit their wealth by paying (a lot) extra for luxury brands vs. non-luxury-brand merchandise.  Virtually no one thinks this reflects badly on their inner sense of self-worth or on their economic judgment.  In my experience, most luxury buyers are either indifferent or unaware that exhibiting these symbols of lack of price sensitivity is a big minus when trying to negotiate over price.

I think the Orbitz research has no negative effect on AAPL.  Quite the contrary.  It simply burnishes the AAPL brand reputation. That should be good for the stock price.

I use a mix of AAPL, Asus and Samsung computer products.  I’m writing this on a Mac.  But I’m certainly never going shopping on an AAPL product again.

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