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A new study has some humorous comments at Mac owners' expense, but reveals some serious market trends

Mac users and Mac-loving analysts often use phrases like “the halo-effect” to explain increased sales of Mac computers and OS X due to iPods and iPhones.  Now, the stock market site The Street has created a humorous video analysis that offers up a new explanation for this and more commercial phenomena -- the "snob"-effect.

In the video, The Street says that on average Mac users surveyed were discovered to be “self centered, arrogant, conceited” and truly "snobs".  The site says this has many real commercial ramifications, so all jokes aside, the "snob"-factor warrants serious attention.

Mac users, apparently concerned with self-image, were found to buy tooth-whitening products at a far greater rate than PC users.  Mac users are also more likely to visit Starbucks, buy organic food, and own hybrid cars.  Furthermore, Mac users buy on average 5 new pairs of sneakers a year, well above the average for non-users. 

Mac users prefer notebooks to desktops, station wagons to SUVs.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mac users prefer "green" products, even at a higher cost.  Perhaps more surprisingly, Mac users are quite law abiding and are more likely than not to pay for music -- perhaps more due to the popularity of iTunes than their moral inclinations.  Mac users are more satisfied with their purchase than PC users.

Interestingly, people surveyed with an "open personality" were found to be 60% more likely to buy a Mac.  Some of the more esoteric observations on Mac users character are flattering, others aren't.  Mac users were found to be more liberal, socially and politically.  Mac users are also less modest and more assured of their own superiority.

The interesting part about The Street's video, is that while obvious poking a bit of fun at the Mac crowd, it does illustrate some practical market trends that can be exploited for the benefit of more effective advertising and marketing to the growing crowd of Mac, iPod, and iPhone "snobs"

Hopefully there won't be too many hurt feelings, and await a possible comment from Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs.

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By Xodus Maximus on 2/18/2008 11:45:01 AM , Rating: 5
Mac users buy on average 5 new pairs of sneakers a year

Is that so they can kick themselves in the arse for paying way too much for the Apple stuff?

RE: Really?
By darkpaw on 2/18/2008 11:49:35 AM , Rating: 5
Just further proof that people that buy Apple products have more money then sense!

RE: Really?
By retrospooty on 2/18/2008 11:57:21 AM , Rating: 3
It must be true. I have bought 8 or 9 computers in the past 3 and 1/2 years, 2 for myself, the rest for friend and family/upgrades etc... All PC's, mostly cheap low end, except the 2 for me =)

In that same time I have bought 1 pair of shoes, and that was just 2 weeks ago. LOL

RE: Really?
By spluurfg on 2/18/2008 3:30:49 PM , Rating: 3
I think it's fairly easy to accept, given the demographics -- Apple products are often marketed to a younger audience, due to their emphasis on design, and are also sold at a premium compared to many competitors.

So what do younger people who can afford to pay that premium do? Buy sneakers (I am guessing young, affluent people might also play a lot of sports?), go to starbucks, be concerned about their image, etc. I find it completely unsurprising that someone who can pay a premium for design is also willing to pay a premium for a 'green' product.

I'm not trying to pass judgement on this -- Honestly I think 'snobbish' is probably a little unfair, since a lot of people out there go to starbucks and buy stuff they don't need, myself included. Though the teeth-whitening statistic is definitely a laugh.

RE: Really?
By Kougar on 2/18/2008 4:05:31 PM , Rating: 4
I still don't quite believe the shoe comments, demographics or not since I fall within that age range. I used to buy a single pair of sneakers a year, because that was as long as they lasted... now for the same price I buy a set of hiking shoes that are more comfortable, great for outdoors use, and have so far lasted me two years without any signs of impending failure and still have half the tread left.

I might expect a woman to buy that many pairs of shoes, but unless it is a guy that heavily plays two or three sports that statistic was just very amusing. Of those Mac users an average of 5 pairs a year makes me wonder just how many was typical for those above the median average. ;)

RE: Really?
By onwisconsin on 2/18/2008 4:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
I know mac users in my family and through my family...Mac users tend to be more "trendy" and seem to have pride about using a mac (read: being arrogant)

RE: Really?
By DM0407 on 2/18/2008 12:01:33 PM , Rating: 5
How did they miss this statistics?

...85% of Mac owners are so smug they enjoy smelling their own farts.

92% are happy they purchased their Apple product days before an unannounced price cut.

RE: Really?
By walk2k on 2/18/2008 12:42:22 PM , Rating: 3
96% of Mac users are fully satisfied with the new Macintosh computer they have pre-ordered even though it hasn't even been announced yet.

RE: Really?
By ShadowZERO on 2/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By inighthawki on 2/18/2008 2:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
seriously-no need to get offensive. It's called a joke man. Maybe if you try laughing instead of getting mad, you can appreciate it.

RE: Really?
By spluurfg on 2/18/2008 6:16:24 PM , Rating: 4
Was that meant to be ironic? Because it was.

RE: Really?
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/18/2008 12:03:51 PM , Rating: 5
Don't know if Mac people have more money than others, but they surely do spend more than tech savvy users, and specifically, they spend more to get things with the right looks than to get things with the right functionality.

It's like comparing girls to boys: girls usually spend lots of money on stuff with little to no practical functionality (very high heel shoes, cosmetics, hair styling) but that imply a self image enhancing, while us amongst the male crowd prefer to spend little fortunes on some rugged printed circuit board which is said to pump out don't-know-how-many zillions of texturized polygons per nanosecond and has gullions of transistors built in.

Hence, Mac people must be comprised mainly by girls and gay men than straight men.

(It's just a joke! I have mac fan friends that are not gay... well, at least they don't seem to be :D )

RE: Really?
By Misty Dingos on 2/18/2008 12:15:19 PM , Rating: 5
This is not news to the people that have ever walked into an Apple store. Never been in one? Well let me help you out because I am a nice person and I like to help people. My trips to the Apple Stores were because a child required an IPod. Nothing else would do. Not Zune. Not Sansa. Not anything but Holy Apple.

Let us tour the standard Apple Store. First things first, it looks like something out of a bad 70’s sci-fi movie. Every surface is frighteningly white, the attendants are all dressed identically, and the air is perfumed with Snobbery No. 5 by Steve Jobs. You are attended to according to the perceived cost of your hair cut. Do not dare mention that you use Windows at home or the attendants will pull on gloves to deal with your unsavory presence. If you make it this far, and congratulations for being so clever, after being allowed in Apple’s Staff profound presence for at least thirty minutes touring ever bit of white and chrome coated tech and agreeing with or laughing at the staff’s witticisms. You may be allowed to bask in the glory of purchasing an item from the Apple Store! This item, whether it be IPod, Mac, or even lowly ITouch will be the gateway unto a new and better existence for you. Unless it breaks, then you will have to navigate the Apple Store again but this time to deal with Apple Customer Service. They give the sales people lessons in snobbery. I will tell you about them later.

RE: Really?
By Omega215D on 2/18/2008 3:18:06 PM , Rating: 3
Despite having the biker look (probably because I rode in a Kawasaki cruiser) the people at the Apple store have been nice to me regardless of my appearance and me carrying my Cowon D2 in sight didn't change a thing. Now the snobby residents of the area ( 5th Ave. near Central Park NYC) are another story.

RE: Really?
By kelmon on 2/19/2008 3:11:50 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe this is just the US stores - the UK ones are wonderful. I honestly can't think of other stores where the staff take so much time to find out what you like and want to do with a computer, or where they'll even talk you out of making a purchase if the item isn't right for you. Basically, your experience is definitely not universal, particularly since all the surfaces appear to be beechwood in the ones that I've been to rather than white.

Funny stuff, mind.

RE: Really?
By spluurfg on 2/18/2008 6:19:42 PM , Rating: 4
Don't know if Mac people have more money than others, but they surely do spend more than tech savvy users, and specifically, they spend more to get things with the right looks than to get things with the right functionality.

Gee, I dunno. I'd say we non-mac users spend just as much -- we just spend it on RAM and graphics cards.

RE: Really?
By jtemplin on 2/18/2008 8:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
In support of spluurfg...I've spent plenty of money on minute aspects of my PC's performance that don't necessarily increase the subjective quality of my computing experience (it went to really fast to really freakin fast?).

Some apple users would argue the increased cost is justified by the superior interface. From my limited dealings with Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Psychologists there is a feeling that the apple OS is superior in many ways to the Windows environment.

To each his own? Nah lets make fun of them because they spent more. Thats the american way (TM).

RE: Really?
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/19/2008 9:10:14 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but do we get a pricey video card or a pricey couple of RAM sticks just because they look cool?
Or because we want everyone to notice when we take them out of our pockets? :D

Hardcore hardware fans can spend quite a bit of money, but not even most of the PC enthusiast crowd are that hardcore or willing to spend so much on hardware(I consider myself to be an enthusiast, but I would never go for an SLI setup or for the fastest version of a kentsfield CPU or even the fastest video card available. And talking about RAM, performance improvements are so small to me that I buy the cheapest ones with a good brand name that can run good at standard fsb speeds, don't even care about the timings any longer)

Most iPod fans, for example, would swap their 6 months old iPods out for the newest one even if it doesn't promise any new functionality whatsoever. Many openly admit they just want it for the looks :D

A PC user that swaps his video card usually does so because the newest and better games don't run well on anything but the best available hardware out there.
At least that's what I think because my experience tells me so... But I might as well be wrong, you never know :D

RE: Really?
By robinthakur on 2/19/2008 5:00:27 AM , Rating: 1
I find it hard to believe that mac users would be caught dead wearing 'sneakers' or is this just a term Americans use for any type of shoe? In the UK its sort of chavvy to wear trainers and only little kids and slummy-mummies wear them (outside of sports uses). Surely they'd be more likely to buy hand-made Itlaian shoes or the like?

In all seriousness, I'm not surprised at this. The prohibitively high barrier cost of entry and the emphasis on styling and design over conventional computing priorities and the fact that Apple really know how to market to make their products true objects of desire, means that Apple is more like a fashion label than any other pc maker. As anyone knows, fashion labels are the very definition of snobbery. This trait is more universal in the UK where the class system is still alive and well, whereas in America you all seem to labour under the misconception that you're all equally important ;)

RE: Really?
By Ringold on 2/18/2008 12:20:36 PM , Rating: 3
5 pair of shoes.. You know they weren't made in the US.

Really Nasty Trade Deficit Estimation:

~ 35 million Apple customers x 5 pairs of shoes x $10 each = 1,750,000,000 annual trade deficit

Assuming they're all cheap-ass sandals, 875 million-ish, assuming they're all nicer shoes, perhaps up to 3.5 - 5 billion extra on the trade deficit.

Also assuming all iTunes users buy 5 each. Big assumptions, big numbers.

RE: Really?
By Penti on 2/18/2008 3:29:09 PM , Rating: 2
And the computers, ipods and other consumer electronics aren't either but hey, Taiwan is getting rich at least.

RE: Really?
By Scott66 on 2/18/2008 4:13:51 PM , Rating: 3
They may not have been made in the US but good chance those sneakers were designed in the states. US companies make the decisions to go outside for production because consumers want to live like they bought the best, but are not willing to pay the full price.

RE: Really?
By HOOfan 1 on 2/18/2008 3:11:58 PM , Rating: 5
I buy 1 new pair of sneakers every 5 years...

They only really get broken in and form fit to my feet after several months of use, then I wear them until they are falling apart.

RE: Really?
By Omega215D on 2/18/2008 3:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm odd because I buy clothes annually since I like utilitarian stuff and it tends to last me a while.

RE: Really?
By dflynchimp on 2/18/2008 5:39:08 PM , Rating: 2
that and to keep their starched white khakis clean when they do

RE: Really?
By kelmon on 2/19/2008 2:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
If the rest of the article had not already done so, that quote definitely shows that either the author was either taking the piss, making it up, or just plain dumb. I don't know anyone who buys 5-pairs of trainers, let alone an average across people, so this article is just garbage.

Personally, I just find the whole subject funny.

RE: Really?
By Samus on 2/19/2008 4:34:15 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, I buy at least 5 pairs of sneakers a year and don't own ANY crapple crap.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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