Report: Lower income groups lead iPhone sales growth

Low income iPhone buyers

Lower income groups account for the most significant growth in iPhone sales, showing a 48 percent three month increase in the $25,000 to $49,999 household income bracket, according to a comScore report. Households with income above $100,000 still account for the biggest share of ownership, at 43 percent, but with a growth of only 16 percent across the three month period. The device also showed significant growth of 46 percent in the $50,000 to $74,999 income category.

The iPhone 3G introduction could have contributed to the growth in the lower income group. The price of the device dropped significantly, putting it into reach of customers with less disposable income. The introduction of 3G high-speed internet access would also be attractive to consumers seeking a device that provides multiple functions.

Senior comScore analyst Jen Wu pointed out potential financial benefits of the iPhone despite the $200 price tag and $70 a month service charges. "One actually realizes cost savings when the device is used in lieu of multiple digital devices and services, transforming the iPhone from a luxury item to a practical communication and entertainment tool."

The $25,000 to $49,999 segment appears to be outpacing the general market in the use of smartphone features, with five percent growth of users accessing news or other information on a mobile device, compared to three percent across the whole market. Similar increases were noticed for mobile e-mail and music service usage.

"These data indicate that lower-income mobile subscribers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to access the Internet, e-mail and their music collections," said Mark Donovan, a comScore analyst. "Smartphones, and the iPhone in particular, are appealing to a new demographic and satisfying demand for a single device for communication and entertainment, even as consumers weather the economy by cutting back on gadgets."

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