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There are caveats to the research, but the paper, which is based on data from 2016, explains that owning an iPhone gave researchers a 69 percent chance of correctly identifying someone as “high-income.” The status is defined as “being in the top quartile of income for households of that type.” Since the data is from two years ago, it doesn't even take into account last year's $999 iPhone X.
It seems that owning an iPad back in 2016 was also a good indicator of wealth, though at 66.9 percent, it wasn’t as fancy as owning an iPhone. Even having an Android smartphone gave researchers a 59.5 percent chance of correctly predicting if someone had a healthy bank account, as did using Verizon (61 percent). The fourth-best brand indicator was if someone used Kikkoman soy sauce—a sign of wealth since 1992, when using Grey Poupon Dijon mustard was the number one indication you had plenty of cash.
In 2004, high-income indicators included owning a dishwasher, ordering any item via the internet, and having a personal computer. While owning a PC didn’t suggest someone was rich in 2016, the other two indicators from 2004 remained on the list.
The researchers used information from Mediamark Research Intelligence, which had a sample size of 6,394. As noted by Business Insider, data includes bi-annual questionnaires as well as information like household income from a face-to-face interview. You can purchase the full paper here.