If someone asked you if you were into luxury brands, what would your answer be? Here’s a hint: if you’ve got an iPhone in your purse or pocket, the answer is yes.

Believe it or not, according to a report by NetBase, Apple and iPhone are considered luxury brands (yes, counted separately, though iPhone is, of course, an Apple product).

In an age when not having a smartphone is rapidly becoming the exception not the rule (not to mention tablets and other mobile devices), Apple reigns supreme as a luxury brand (the top American brand, and No. 2 worldwide), while Android falls into the everyman category.

What sets the two apart, when they are offering the same level of product (ask users of either and you’ll find passionate loyalty coupled with decided disdain for the other)?

Well, what sets any luxury brand apart?

  • History – Apple sets the smartphone standard with features and apps, so early adopters – who in fact were purchasing a luxury item at that time – may always make that association
  • Price – even if you’re not among the wealthy elite, shelling out a bit more for things like technological devices, shoes, or handbags can make you look and feel like you are; it’s all about status

Our love affair with luxury is a passionate one – should one of our favorite high-end brands offend us, we may move on, but likely not before then.

And while some luxury items become ordinary and affordable once demand increases (like smartphones overall), there will always be a top echelon for that item. You can buy shoes at any shoe or department store, but they won’t be Jimmy Choo shoes.

While it may not make sense to some, the emergence of Apple as a luxury brand will further cement many users’ loyalty and love for the brand, which is why Apple would be smart to capitalize on the luxury label. As for Android – and other “not quite luxury” brands – they can step up their game, but they may always be considered everyman, simply because Apple was there first.

Do you consider your phone – whether Apple or Android – a status symbol? Do you think others do? And do you care either way?

Download NetBase Brand Passion Report: Luxury Brand Retailers to get an overview of what consumers think and feel when it comes to the most revered brands.

This post originally appeared on Comm.pro.

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