It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but I think that Apple will sell more iPhones due to the recession. In a previous post I mentioned that I thought companies could save some money by giving employees incentives to use their own cell phones. To reduce costs at my company, people who do not use their corporate cell phones frequently have been asked to simply turn them in. For some this was no big deal, they were thrilled to only have to carry one phone around. But, there were a few people who only had a company phone, they didn't use the phone much and their limited personal use was acceptable.
Now these people are in the market for personal cell phones because they understand the importance of them in the modern world. I know some people who will not stop to help out a stranded motorist because they figure that the person should have already called for help on their mobile phone. Couple that with the disappearance of pay phones, and it becomes almost a requirement to carry a cell phone.
So, for the staff members that turned in their corporate phones the question becomes which phone to get. I know of at least one person who researched available phones and went with the iPhone because of all the features it elegantly packs in one device. Sure there are other phones that offer comparable features, but many of those just look like corporate phones and are certainly not as elegant. If you are going to have to pay for your own phone then it seems reasonable to purchase a phone that clearly illustrates your independence. I mean, if the company takes away a person's phone and basically forces them to go buy your own, would they really want to buy one that looks like a corporate phone? That would make them look like a bit of a sucker. They would be purchasing with their own money what the company is giving away for free to more needing employees.
Purchasing a clearly non-corporate phone, like the iPhone, can give the person a feeling of control over their destiny. They can say that they wanted to turn in their phone so that they could get a great phone that is not part of the corporate standard. Of course Apple is positioning the iPhone to be a corporate phone, but I don't think that would dull the sexiness of the iPhone.
I know another individual who is in the market for a cell phone because of turning in his corporate phone, but it's hard to say what he will end up purchasing. He keeps doing research on prepaid phones, but always ends up comparing them with the iPhone. I think that he would like to simply purchase an iPhone but hasn't convinced himself that the monthly service charges are worth it, especially given the current economic crisis.
So, in my little slice of the world, Apple is gaining business from the recession. With a little more research it may be possible to identify other businesses that will benefit from the recession by picking up consumer customers that have been stripped of their corporate perks.