12th of December 2022

By Professor John Dawes Associate Director (Operations) Ehrenberg-Bass Institute
Published by B&T See original article

The case of the iPhone – How sustained growth comes from a broad spectrum of category buyers

Professor John Dawes (lead image) is an associate director at Adelaide’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science. In this guest post, the goodly Professor takes a look at the phenomenal sales of Apple’s iPhone and says that sales growth can come from across the spectrum of demographics…

Marketers have traditionally been told that brand success comes from identifying a carefully selected market segment, then crafting a strategy to appeal to that segment. Then along came the book How Brands Grow, with evidence that challenged that theory.  It showed that competing brands share their buyers with other brands – which makes it difficult to imagine they can appeal to different segments.  Moreover, How Brands Grow showed that brand growth comes from attracting more buyers ‘across the board,’ rather than from a narrow segment.  This article shows how sustained growth occurs in just the way How Brands Growoutlined.

Our growth example is the iPhone – a brand that grew strongly in the UK over a decade. Using YouGov data, we split out its growth over time across different demographic groups.  We created groups based on age (young, medium, older), gender (female, male) and income (low, medium, high) to make 18 distinct population groups ranging from young, female, low income to old, male, high income and every combination in between.  We then extracted the proportion of each group that said they owned an iPhone, over the years 2013 to 2022.  The results are shown in the graph below.  Overall, we see that the iPhone increased its ownership among almost every group, in fact to 17 of the 18.  On one group, namely young, male, high income, ownership declined for the iPhone by a couple of points from 2013 to 2015 then stayed stable.

Read the full article in B&T.


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