People want iPhones to make up for their low self-esteem

By Duy Nhat   October 23, 2022 | 04:36 pm PT
People want iPhones to make up for their low self-esteem
A man holds an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Photo by VnExpress/Tuan Hung
They will not buy a phone that costs only a few million dong even if it has all the functions a phone will ever need.

Since it will not look good in front of a mirror.

On a railroad trip from Hue to Da Nang, I sat in a car with a group of tourists from Europe. As the train crossed Hai Van Pass, everyone was enjoying the sight of the mountains and cliffs and ocean below when some brought out their phones to take pictures.

What surprised me was they were all using some old models of Android and iPhone. I did not see any of those brand new iPhones that people have been talking about lately.

I asked the person sitting next to me if Europeans do not like iPhones. They said that while they do like them, the phones are too expensive, and they would rather spend on a trip instead of on an iPhone. They continued to talk about how beautiful Nepal is and how majestic the Angkor Wat is.

Why are Vietnamese so obsessed with iPhones?

At many smartphone retailers’ in Vietnam, there is a small booth for prospective buyers to seek credit. This is where they have to complete procedures to borrow money to pay for their phone. All one needs is a personal ID and a few other documents, and a brand-new iPhone will be theirs in a while.

My boss, a wealthy woman who owns properties and stocks, uses a phone that costs no more than VND10 million.

Many employees have suggested that she should buy a new phone that has been released this year, but her reply is: "What for? I can call and text just fine."

Apple's financial report shows that in the third quarter it has seen a slight revenue increase year-on-year. But sales in the Vietnamese market increased by double digits, making it one of the fastest growing markets for the tech giant.

Vietnamese people's obsession with the iPhone is evident from the lines of people waiting for the newly released iPhone 14 in the middle of the night.

People spent trillions of dong to buy them, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best-selling model.

Some people say iPhones are easier to use than other phones. But is that really the case? I bought a phone that costs less than VND5 million, have been using it for the past year, and I feel fine with it. Its functions are still as good as the day I first bought it. If there is one problem with it, it is not an iPhone.

Many people buy iPhones by borrowing money or pay in installments, all to satisfy their ego.

"I feel much more confident on the street, in a coffee shop or at the gym just by holding an iPhone in my hand," a colleague told me.

I realize that people who lack self-confidence want to compensate for that through material things: a new phone, a fancy bike... even if they cannot afford them.

People might say it is their money, their choice. But how people spend their money also reflects on their personality. Between an iPhone that costs over VND30 million and devalues within a few months, a trip and a language class, which one would you rather spend on?

Companies are at their best when they exploit customers' insecurities. They know we will want to go for the "best" option even when there are more affordable alternatives.

Don’t let that be your downfall.

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