Apple Losing its Cool: With iPhone 6, Chegg Survey Finds College Students Rate Apple Less “Cool” Than Tech Giant Counterparts

Following the Apple Announcement, Survey Finds Only One in Ten College and High School Students Plan to Purchase the Apple Watch, While One Third Plan to Purchase the New iPhone

Results of the latest Student Buzz surveys conducted by Chegg, The Student Hub, show that with the anticipated iPhone 6 news, Apple is losing its cool factor among its technology contemporaries. While 71% of college and high school students rate Google as “cool,” and 72% say the same for Amazon, just 64% hold that belief for Apple – while nearly a third think Apple is “smug” (29%).

With students believing this year’s Apple event was the beneficiary of significant media hype, Chegg sought out the opinions and anticipated purchasing behaviors of students to see if they stacked up.

Here’s what they found:

College students are vocal in brand opinions yet have few qualms in acting against those biases: As some college students don’t think Apple is as cool as other large tech brands, college students overall aren’t completely sold on the new phone. However, Apple’s announcement did create a strong conviction among the already-converted, and about half of those on the fence decided to move towards a purchase:

  • In anticipating the features for the new phone, 66% of students say Apple is delivering what they would’ve expected, and 24% say Apple may have lost its edge
  • Over half feel the phone is “more style than substance” (55%)
  • Upon hearing just the rumors of the new phone and features the week before, 1 in 3 said they’d “definitely” or “probably” buy the new iPhone when it comes out (36%)
  • Following the September 9th announcement, these attitudes have shifted little:
    • Only 36% still say they’ll “definitely” or “probably” buy the phone
    • The product announcement solidified the conviction among those who were already leaning towards a purchase. 72% of those who said they were already likely to buy the phone prior to the announcement said they were now somewhat (25%) or much more (46%) likely to buy it
    • 47% of those on the fence – who said they “might or might not” buy the phone ahead of the announcement, now say they are somewhat (36%) or much more likely (11%) to buy it
    • Just 14% of those who previously said they were unlikely to buy the phone said they were now somewhat (12%) or much more likely (2%) to buy it

Students want an indestructible, longer-lasting iPhone: You can’t count on customers to tell you what they want in order to guarantee purchase, but students’ iPhone wish lists are reflective of their always-on lifestyles. 50% of current iPhone student users say they’ll be likely getting the new phone and explain what features are motivating their purchase:

  • Students most request a bigger and better battery life, at 19%, followed by waterproof and durability, at 16%
  • Of the rumored new features:
    • 48% and 45% say bigger battery and more memory, respectively, would drive them to buy
    • While bigger screen sizes are considered by pundits as must-haves in order to keep Apple competitive, only 34% of students have it on their list

Students are not sold on the Apple Watch, and in general aren’t swayed on the Apple ecosystem: Not only are students not hot on wearables (according to Chegg’s August Student Buzz survey, only 18% of students own a wearable), interest in Apple Watch is virtually non-existent and students don’t care much about ecosystem integration. Furthermore, Apple’s flashy announcement didn’t sway students:

  • Only 6% of current Android phone users and only 14% of iPhone users say they’d seriously consider buying an Apple Watch. But why?
    • Rejecters felt most commonly that the watch was “too expensive for what it was” (40%), or that they “don’t need the functionality it delivers” (39%)
    • Only half (47%) of those who cited price as their main reason to avoid the watch said that they’d be excited to get it as a gift
    • A smaller 6% reject it primarily because of the appearance, while only 4% said they were turned off primarily because of the need to use it in conjunction with the iPhone
  • Those who did intend to buy were most attracted to the fitness features (33%), with the next most commonly cited motivator being their “love for gadgets” (25%)
  • Seeing the watch itself didn’t change the minds of skeptics, with only 5% of those who said they didn’t expect to buy the watch prior to the announcement now saying they were “much more likely to buy one”
  • When students were asked their interest in switching to all-Apple for better integration capability across devices, only 15% said they would “definitely” or “probably” switch; 35% of students said they would definitely not switch to a Mac for better integration with the rest of their Apple devices

Why: Through its interactions with over 13 million high school and college students, Chegg has deep insight into the student landscape. As a student-first company, it’s Chegg’s prerogative to keep a constant pulse on the collective nationwide student mindset – from the brands they like, to the trends they follow, and even the differing views they have on the most recent news. While Chegg’s mission is to deliver tools and services to help this group be successful in their education.

How: Chegg surveyed 1586 college students attending 2 year & 4 year schools and 446 high school students between August 30 & September 2 and re-contacted 448 of these respondents on September 9 from Chegg’s proprietary national panel of 15,000 students. Data was weighted and quoted to national norms. Data is accurate to within +/- 1.6% at the 95% confidence level.
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