General Question

SergeantQueen's avatar

What pushes people to pay excessive amounts of money for phones/other technology?

Asked by SergeantQueen (4365points) 2 months ago

This question came to me while answering This question about the latest Iphone. The iPhone price is ranging from $999 to $1800 in certain countries. The device is made up of stainless steel and glass, and is dust and waterproof. There isn’t much to it that would convince me to pay more than $400—$500 dollars for it, especially when I had a $70 phone last me 6 years.

Do you think people are paying this much because they feel the technology will actually benefit them, or are they just doing it because most others are too, and they want to fit in?

I feel it’s a bit of a mix, but the majority are doing it to look cool. I once read that apple purposefully made it so that the phones they made lasted a short time. To force people to buy phones every year or so. This company I feel is brainwashing people to buy these phones by over-advertising what they can do, and trying to make it so that people with Iphones think they are more entitled and are better.

I just can’t fathom why anyone in their right mind would pay soo much money for a cell phone.

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44 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s easy, perhaps tempting, to brush this sort of thing off as a status symbol. Sure it is for some. And some actually benefit through business associate respect that comes with such a thing. Lawyers and executives understand that their appearance and preferences can help sell themselves just as much as (if not more than) any wordy pitch ever could.

Others simply appreciate the feel of a high quality product, preferring fine craftsmanship in their hand. Others, for one reason or another, absolutely need to be on the cutting edge of technology. Their career may depend upon being perceived that way by others.

I know a young man, who is rather poor. But he has an interesting perspective on things that I believe is a good balance between shunning materialism and appreciating the best of things. His goal is to have a very few, really nice things. Just a couple of expensive high quality artistically designed possessions that can give him a sense of pride in knowing that he either earned them upon his own merit, or that someone cared enough to gift the best upon him. He has no desire to become over indulgent. But he also wants a little taste of experiencing the best of what human creation can offer during his time.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Their ego. “I got this expensive . . . .”

Patty_Melt's avatar

I think a lot of people actually don’t have a good concept of value.
I don’t mean value in terms of a good deal, but the actual definition, what things are actually worth, what is excessive.
I think cost for a lot of people is like Rainman. In that movie, he says something like a candy bar, underwear, and a car all cost the same.
I think some people have no clue what something is worth except what the market tells them.
It is the only way I can find to explain the strange shopping habits of some people.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Because most people,(NOT ALL) are sheep and if you tell them they need this wonder phone or their lives won’t be worth living will rush out and buy the damn thing.

My provider keeps telling me I qualify for a free new phone,and I keep telling them I don’t want it,I will up grade my cell when mine quits working , and not until then.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Apple is clever. After all, they didn’t get to be the world’s most valuable company (based on market cap.) by being poor marketers.
And some customers… well…
Some will use it like a status symbol to appear rich, or tech savvy, or up-to-date . There will even be a few people who legitimately need a new phone because their old one died and figure they might as well upgrade.
The saddest group are the ones that really can’t afford it but buy anyway because they figure they’ll always have a phone payment so they upgrade to look like they have money.

I wonder if flashing a new phone attracts females.

canidmajor's avatar

The fact that people probably don’t agree with your view of “excessive”.
And maybe they find a need and/or valid value in features that are offered.
And maybe they just have a different life than those who would judge them.

chyna's avatar

I have to disagree with your statement that Apple phones don’t last. My Apple 4 is still going strong.

janbb's avatar

What’s wrong with it ipeople can afford and want it? There’s a range of what people will pay for a car, why judge people’s motivation for spending on a phone?

ragingloli's avatar

It is a status symbol.

janbb's avatar

@ragingloli Not always or only. You can’t know other people’s motivations. I get so tired of people on here being judgmental. See you all on the flip side.

cookieman's avatar

a good balance between shunning materialism and appreciating the best of things. His goal is to have a very few, really nice things. Just a couple of expensive high quality artistically designed possessions that can give him a sense of pride in knowing that he either earned them upon his own merit, or that someone cared enough to gift the best upon him. He has no desire to become over indulgent. But he also wants a little taste of experiencing the best of what human creation can offer during his time.

Best thing I’ve read ever on the subject.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I don’t think OP is being judgemental. She stated she doesn’t see the value, and doesn’t understand, and asked for clarification.

Since there are a variety of lifestyles and personality types, it seems appropriate to me that responses to the question will differ.

I believe each answer has covered one type of consumer or another.

canidmajor's avatar

@Patty_Melt:

What pushes people to pay _excessive amounts of money for…_”

I feel it’s a bit of a mix, _but the majority are doing it to look cool. I once read that apple purposefully made it so that the phones they made lasted a short time. To force people to buy phones every year or so. This company I feel is brainwashing people to buy these phones by over-advertising what they can do, and trying to make it so that people with Iphones think they are more entitled and are better._

I just can’t fathom why anyone in their right mind would pay soo much money for a cell phone.

The bold highlights are pretty clear examples of subjective judgement.

Where did the OP once read that (about the iPhones being purposefully designed to last a short time)? Was it from a leaked memo from Apple or an opinion blog? Are there numbers (based on normal usage, not how many times a careless person drops it or dunks it into the toilet) to back it up?

Get a new iPhone or don’t, I don’t care, but your assertion that ”each answer has covered one type of consumer or another” is a bit specious. ”...ego…”, ”…sheep…”, ”…status symbol…” and your own ”...don’t have a good concept of value…” indicate that there is a strong feeling of “knowing better” than others what their needs and motives are, rather than their own reasons for choosing not to purchase a particular type of item.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“What pushes people to…”

Are we pushed towards these things… Or are we drawn to them?

Lightlyseared's avatar

At least with the iPhone X you can (kind of) see where your money is going. Back in be late 90’s and early naughties Vertu was selling gold plated diamond encrusted dumb phones for £10,000 to 25,000.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I see a self appointed council showing up on various threads, judging and battering.

You are pointing fingers all over the place.
Stop being bullies.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are several angles to this. To begin with, this is the standard routine to anything “state of the art”. There is always a percentage of the market for whom the crippling price is actually justified by the benefits rendered from immediate acquisition of the product. Then there are cash rich technical firms and other fat corporations willing to buy the things by the crate to pass out to pampered employees. And there are the geeks, show offs, compulsive spenders, etc. My view is Godspeed to all of them as long as I can pick up one of the things a couple of years from now at ⅓ the initial asking price.

ragingloli's avatar

@Lightlyseared
Hey, at least you can scrape off the gold and diamonds and sell them.
The Iphone is only good for the junkyard.

chyna's avatar

@luckyguy You would have to flash more at me than just a new phone to get my attention. :-)

SergeantQueen's avatar

I am 100% judging the people who go out and spend almost $2000 on a phone. I don’t care how bad of a person that makes me, it’s retarded to spend that much money on something that doesn’t even matter that much for the whole purpose of looking cool. There isn’t much to it that makes it much better than other way cheaper phones, that also have an actual, necessary use to the phone.
It kind of pisses me off that a lot of these companies have the nerve to sell an item of this price, when it is worth not even half that. They know dumbass people will buy them whether they sell them for $400 or $4000.
I get 99% of my stuff from thrift stores, or for real low prices. I don’t go for the most expensive things right away, or really at all. Can’t really comprehend why people would go for these types of items.

chyna's avatar

^“Retarded is now a politically incorrect word to use in public. Just sayin’.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Is mentally challenged better @chyna ????^^^

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Curiosity. For new tech.

jca's avatar

I think it’s a number of reasons all over the board.

People who want the latest gadget and will put themselves in hock if that’s what it takes to have it, people who like technology, people who may get the item given to them by their job, people who feel if they’re due for an upgrade, why not just go for the supreme, people who want to show off, and last but not least, fans of Apple who would make everything they own be an Apple brand if such things were available.

To me, it’s foolish but that’s just my opinion. I’m not usually one to run after trends and I definitely don’t have money to do so, so I hang back and enjoy my Samsung that’s provided by my job, and I’m happy with it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

”...I am 100% judging…”
”...it’s retarded…”
”...pisses me off…”
”...dumbass people…”

Extremism is the mother of confusion.

”...Can’t really comprehend why…”

And lo, understanding is denied.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@chyna if a flashy new phone
won’t turn your head, how about a cheap old phone dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts?

stanleybmanly's avatar

my kinda woman!

SergeantQueen's avatar

It’s not extremism

stanleybmanly's avatar

chocolate? my kinda terrorism!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Definition of extremism

1 :the quality or state of being extreme
2 :advocacy of extreme measures or views :

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

On the scale of extreme judgement vs tolerant understanding, which side would your comments weigh most heavily upon @SergeantQueen?

tinyfaery's avatar

Excessive is a matter of opinion. I still have my iPhone 5 and I need to upgrade because I cannot update anymore—no memory. I plan on upgrading to a 6 or 7 by the end of the year. I never try to impress anyone. I think most people on fluther know that about me. Likewise, I don’t care about most people’s opinion of me. It’s not my ego that makes me want a new phone it’s my desires. My wife and I work hard to afford our lives and we deserve to buy a little happiness with that.

Do I need it to survive? No. I own a lot of things I do not need to survive and so do most Americans. I’m sure I can find plenty of things to judge the OP for, things much more important than how much money is spent on a hand held computer.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“I never try to impress anyone.”
Now that… is impressive! ;)

<<<<< Unlike you know who, always looking for a jib.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I don’t consider my comments extreme in any way, shape, or form

johnpowell's avatar

It is funny. My sisters kids have laptops that were about 700 each. Nobody really thinks that is weird. They use those laptops only when when they have to write a paper for school. 95% of the other time is spent on their iPhone. Their phones were 700 too.

And how much are people’s cell/data plans? That is where you get screwed. At least in the United States. A single line here with garbage data is 70 a month. That is the real rip-off.

And I am sitting in a 500 dollar chair. Since I use it a lot I am willing to pay a bit more for a really nice chair.

And Loli… How much was the graphics card in your computer?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@SergeantQueen
“I don’t consider my comments extreme in any way, shape, or form”
_

”...I am 100% judging…”

I thought 100% was the most extreme any human can possibly be. Am I wrong?

”...it’s retarded…”
”...pisses me off…”
”...dumbass people…”

Are those nice words, or mean words?

gorillapaws's avatar

How much to people spend on high-quality point-and-shoot cameras? How often do people carry those with them? For most people, their phone is always on them. The ability to send/receive calls and text messages is really only a tiny part of what a smartphone does. Despite being called a phone, it’s basically a water-resistant, touch-screen, pocket computer that can interface with the world and take very good quality pictures/video. When you think about all the technology packed into that little device with millions of lines of code, it’s pretty remarkable that they can sell it as cheaply as they do and still make a good profit.

It’s all relative to your perspective. It probably isn’t worth the price for many people, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge others because they see the value in a product.

johnpowell's avatar

I bought a Nikon D40 and some lenses for like like 1200 eight years ago. I wanted to to get into photography but it didn’t stick. I have Nikon D40 and some lenses in my closet if anyone wants to buy them for 1K so I can get the iPhone X.

johnpowell's avatar

And it is also funny that the resale on iPhones is so high everyone I know wraps that shit up in a case like they are are going to fuck Eazy-E (HE DIED FROM AIDS). I see a lot of iPhones on the bus that are in cases. I would never know they are iPhones unless I saw the screen. But yeah, status symbols. Maybe we just like like security updates.

cookieman's avatar

@gorillapaws: Exactly!

Of course, calling it the i-water-resistant, touch-screen, pocket computer that can interface with the world and take very good quality pictures/video would be cumbersome.

AmIMoreThanYouBargainedForYet's avatar

Haha… I think that the reason that people spend so much on these phones is because apple is consumerism at its best.
Consumerism at its best haha good joke
It is made to break so that the consumer will purchase a new one, and if it doesn’t break then they stop letting you update it and without the latest update, you can’t download any apps… etc. etc.
The phone becomes obsolete within a year and it forces you to buy a new one. But why buy the same phone as your old one when you can buy a shiny new one? Yeah, maybe it breaks faster and has only half a gig of storage and maybe it has a worse camera and no headphone jack, but who cares? maybe you have to use a dongle unless you wanna spend a lot more on wireless headphones but oh well.
The phone has a higher number after it and that’s all that matters around here.

tinyfaery's avatar

^^My iPhone is 3 years old. My in laws have iPhone 4’s. They work for a long time.

obidavido's avatar

the specification that the phones or technology have

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