When you look around at the stock market or unemployment statistics, you assume that most people aren’t buying much these days. That’s true for the most part. Except when you look at Apple’s earnings. Apple sold 20 million iPhones (up by 142%) and 9.25 million iPads (jumping up by 182%)—nearly doubling revenue last quarter. I’m sure the average American household doesn’t have an iProduct budget right now since a top-of-the-line iPad can cost up to $829. Why?
A blog post I recently read, “Broke and Buying Anyway” written by Dan Lyons, says it could be a matter of trying to appear more financially stable than you really are—or that you’re in denial. When life pretty much sucks, people want a distraction. Smartphones and tablets are a way to escape. It’s easy to forget that you can’t pay your mortgage when you’re watching movies on your iPad, checking in on your Facebook friends, or playing Angry Birds on your iPhone.
Lipstick, liquor, and cigarettes are typically indicators of a bad economy. During the Great Depression, cosmetic sales jumped 25%, and after September 11, 2011, lipstick sale doubled. CNN recently reported that alcohol sales are up, and thanks to the Great Depression (again) for the end of prohibition because now we can tax alcohol.
Although an iPhone costs a lot more than a tube of fuchsia lipstick, or a six pack, it does give people a level of control in an otherwise chaotic and scary world. Perhaps Apple has figured out how to develop recession-proof products.