Are you a dog or cat person? Tea or coffee drinker? iPhone or Android user? All very important questions that define the human race.
For the smartphones, it’s a close battle in Australia – in the second half of 2020, the iPhone gained 46.2% of sales compared with 53.8% for the entire Android market – but when we asked Gen Zs which is their favourite mobile phone OS, the results tell a different story.
While those sales figures are close to a 50-50 split, our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report found that a sweeping three quarters (77%) of young Australians favoured Apple iOS with only 21% responding Google Android and 1% Windows Mobile, making the iPhone the standout mobile phone of choice for young Australians.
So why are Gen Zs crushing so hard on Apple?
Apple vs Android rivalry
Apple’s first iPhone was released in 2007. The following year, Google unveiled its first Android phone, the operating system now used by several phone manufacturers including Samsung and HTC.
The rivalry between them has remained since, drummed up by tech-heads and mainstream media alike from TechRadar and CNET to Forbes and the New York Times: ‘After two months with Android, I’m going back to iPhone’, ‘Why I’m glad I never abandoned Android for an iPhone’, ‘iPhone vs Android: Which is Better for You?’, ‘Samsung vs Apple: Inside The Brutal War For Smartphone Dominance’.
Oh, and we’re doing it right here too.
Anyway, there’s no need for an epic features contest here – we’ll save you the hours: for the everyday user, they’re more or less the same quality! If you had to split them, Android gives more flexibility, while Apple gives more usability and privacy. But clearly in Australia and across the world Apple prices its products at a premium, and fans are willing to line up and splash out.
Because Apple is cooler.
Apple’s powerful branding
Marketing 101 says we buy into emotions, not practicality. So what’s ‘that Apple feeling’?
There’s the inspirational success story, how Apple was founded by a couple of college dropouts – one of whom is Steve Jobs whose quotes plastered on office walls have turned him into a kind of personal development guru.
There’s the iconic sleek, white, minimalist design, down to the packaging that apparently gives off “a familiar, comforting aura”. Deep down, users feel like they’re part of a stylish, elite group.
There’s the ‘creative visionaries’ marketing that Team Android thinks is pretentious. In the 80s, Apple started portraying itself as belonging to a club that embodies “righteous outsiderism and rebellion against injustice”.
The 1997 ‘Think Different’ campaign celebrating boundary-pushers like Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart and Pablo Picasso was historic. Just look at this snippet of the ad: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels… About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.”
That sounds like a foreword to today’s passionate Gen Z. The messaging is still present – this year, Apple has partnered with some of Australia’s biggest young talents including Flume, Flex Mami and Sampa The Great.
Then there’s the extraordinary hush-hush around product releases. To quote Mark Sullivan for Fast Company, “Secrecy is like a religion at Apple. It’s baked deeply into the DNA and culture of the company.” For extra anticipation and excitement, of course. It works.
And the more people spend on Apple products, the more they’re hooked onto the Apple ecosystem of phones, laptops, tablets and watches that work better together, from pairing devices to syncing apps like iMessage (which 62% of Gen Zs have also told us they use regularly). Brand loyalty, at its best.
And thanks to all this, Apple has well and truly won the iPhone vs Android competition in Australia.