Why we go into debt to buy Apple products

iPad2 advertEugene Hoshiko/AP/Press Association Images

A survey by MyVoucherCodes has revealed that one in three people have gone into debt to buy Apple products. With the launch of the new iPad widely predicted this month, a flood of new buyers will stretch themselves to acquire more iProducts.

The buyers blamed the fact that products are so frequently updated, but they are missing the point.

The blame

Buyers laid the blame firmly at Apple's door. Three quarters of Brits think that Apple release updated product models too frequently, with four fifths saying the updates were proving 'too costly'.

If you consider the iPad, the original was out in May 2010, and just 21 months later we are expecting the iPad 3: that seems pretty quick. The iPhones, meanwhile, have been updated roughly once a year since they first emerged onto the market.That's fairly swift, and has apparently led 42% of people feeling under pressure to keep up with new generations of products.

The real reason

However, Kim Stephenson, a retail psychologist, author and creator of tamingthepound.com says it's not Apple's fault, it's ours: "We are hunter-gatherers, and among hunter-gatherers status and hierarchy are very important. It used to be if you were the best hunter or you were better able to find food you would be given status and were a more attractive mate. In modern society we tend to judge status by the stuff we have bought."

He says we work hard to convince ourselves that we need the latest products. He adds: "You can convince yourself you need it, but you are really just trying to compete with other people. What we really need to do is take a step back and ask why you feel you have to keep up with everyone else. Why does it matter? The studies show it won't make you happy, it'll just make you want the next thing."

The cost

The financial impact is alarming. Some 35%, of respondents to the survey said they'd fallen into debt to purchase Apple products, with 29% saying they'd bought using credit cards and 6% saying they'd taken a loan out to afford it.

Stephenson says this is unsurprising, because we "mentally account" for borrowed money in a different way to savings, and don't consider it to be real money. It means we are more likely to spend it without really considering the purchase.

Mark Pearson, founder of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk offered the sage advice: "Don't worry about trying to keep up if you can't afford to. This definitely isn't the economy in which we should all be trying to keep up with the Joneses."

The question is whether enough of us can retrain our minds to understand why we crave the latest gadgets, and why buying them will never satisfy our needs.

But what do you think? have you trained your mind, or will you be first in the queue? let us know in the comments.
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