Mac users have always been considered to be a class above the common PC users, with Mac symbolizing the status of its user; at least in the perspective of a section of the population. It may be ‘pride’ that has now made Mac users specifically targeted by service providers to be provided with pricier options when they use their Macs to browse for services like hotels.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, some companies have been using otherwise unimportant data (e.g. whether a person is using a Mac or PC) from research firms or observations made by themselves to provide targeted ads and varied prices to different layers of users:
The Orbitz effort, which is in its early stages, demonstrates how tracking people’s online activities can use even seemingly innocuous information—in this case, the fact that customers are visiting Orbitz.com from a Mac—to start predicting their tastes and spending habits.
The Orbitz effort mentioned by the WSJ is referring to a study conducted by Orbitz that conclude users who browse Orbitz using Macs are more likely to pay 30% higher prices for hotels than “common PC users”. As such, Orbitz is now starting to present Mac users with higher priced hotels versus the standard rates for Windows-based PC owners.
The Atlantic Wire notes that this is not the first time Apple users are targeted as a “different species”.
According to Mindset Media, people who purchase Macs fall into what the branding company calls the “Openness 5” personality category — which means they are more liberal, less modest and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large. Mindset Media helps companies with strong brands develop ads targeted to people based on personality traits or people’s “mindsets,” and does research to that effect.
Some studies had also revealed that iPhone and iPad users are more responsive to ads than other mobile users (e.g. Android users). Also, generally speaking, Apple users have been found to be of a nature that likes to bargain less, instead being complacent with whatever they are provided with, most of the time. These factors are obviously considered by many firms while advertising.
One reason for all of the above may be iDevice owners are part of upper-middle, upper class section of the population. According to a study by The New York Times,
43 percent of people making over $150,000 a year use an iPhone, iPad or Mac for work, making them far more likely than any other group to use an Apple product. In comparison, 27 percent of people earning $100,000 to $149,999 said they use an Apple product for work, while 23 percent of people making $50,000 to $99,999 a year and 19 percent of earners below $50,000 said the same.
Similarly, 41 percent of the respondents who identified themselves as “directors” at their companies said they used an Apple product for work. For self-identified “managers” and “workers,” the figures were 27 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
If all iDevice owners fell in the 43% making over $150,000 a year then all would be fine and dandy. But all iDevice owners don’t make that much money. The consumers who are negatively affected by these kind of targeted actions are the “common” iDevice users; people who cannot really afford the costly options they are presented with and would much rather like to get cheaper selections of whatever they are buying. Food for thought, you hubris filled iSheep. (That is a joke.) Share your thoughts about this with us in the comments  below!