Phone Case Sociology??? | January 22, 2015

My father recently returned from a business trip in China, and he, per usual, brought back several gifts for the whole family. One of my gifts, which I’m currently using, was a brushed aluminum iPhone case. I don’t like cases, so I usually go naked with my phone, but my dad knows I’m accident-prone and forced me to put it on. It’s brushed aluminum, it’s thin, and it’s not too obtrusive when I’m using my phone, so fine, I’ll use it. Anyways, I noticed that there is a circular cut-out on the back side of the case so that the Apple logo on the phone can remain exposed while the case is on the phone.

Maybe I’m looking too much into this, but I’ve noticed that American (among other countries’) phone cases don’t have this cut-out. Belkin, Speck, Mophie, Otterbox, you name it, they all don’t have this cut-out to expose the Apple logo. In contrast, every single cheap case I’ve ever ordered or purchased from China has had this circular cut-out. Obviously there could be more than one reason for this, but I theorize it has something to do with brand recognition. Currently in China, there is a generation of nouveau riche young people, who frivolously spend their parents’ money on cars, electronics, and luxury goods. Their parents, most likely, are self-made, due to the rise of capitalism in China post-Mao. So, to make up for generations of living in poverty, not having enough to eat, and wearing traditional Communist China garb, they wear their Louis Vuitton belts, drive their Lamborghinis, and, of course, parade around their champagne-gold iPhones.

Many rich Chinese youths are making up for lost ground by flaunting their wealth. It, of course, makes sense that they need to show off their Apple logos on their phones by using a case with a cut-out, or even no case at all. It’s not enough to be rich. They must also be perceived as rich. Of course, I’m generalizing here, but with the aggregate time I’ve spent in China totaling to over 2 years, I’ve seen this shift from modest frugality to a generation of relatively mindless spendthrifts. I think that as this shiny newfound wealth is no longer unique to only a small percent of the population, this frenzy over material goods will subside.

Of course, this was all just an observation of a couple phone cases. I could just be crazy.

Thanks for reading,



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