The iPhone X has a hefty price tag, but the price itself doesn’t demonstrate how much increasing prices impact the average working American. A better metric might be to compare the number of work-hours needed to purchase an iPhone now versus 2008 (the first year iPhone subsidies were offered). iPhone trade-in/buyback comparison site Flipsy.com, the blue book of iPhones, did just that, and discovered:
- In 2008, Americans earning average wages would have worked 9.2 hours to buy a subsidized iPhone versus the 38 hours they’d need to work in 2017 to buy an iPhone X – a 313% increase
- At the non-subsidized 2008 price, average-wage Americans would have worked 23.2 hours versus 38 in 2017 – a 64% increase
- Minimum wage workers in 2008 would have worked 30.4 hours to buy a subsidized iPhone; in 2017, they must work 137.8 for an iPhone X – a 353% increase
Work-hours required to purchase other technologies – namely, televisions and tablets – have not followed suit; despite advanced technology, fewer work-hours are required in 2017 to purchase those devices than were required in 2008.
It begs the question: if technology continues to get cheaper even as it improves, why does the average American need to invest more time to purchase an iPhone?
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If trends continue this way, in ten years the average American might need to work an entire month to buy an iPhone. That might seem far-fetched until you consider that minimum wage workers are nearly doing it already.
You can read the full analysis, complete with data and sources, at Flipsy.com.