NEW YORK, USA: Aftermarket mobile phone accessories – those purchased in addition to any included in the phone’s box – produced worldwide revenue of $26.5 billion last year.
According to latest forecasts from ABI Research, that volume is expected to increase to slightly more than $50 billion in 2015. That represents a CAGR of 11.4 percent over the measured timeframe.
“Market growth in the aftermarket accessories segment is being driven by the explosive growth in smartphone sales,” says senior analyst Michael Morgan. “Smartphones are generally higher-value products than feature phones, so consumers are willing to spend more on the accessories for them. There is also a shift to higher-quality accessories, replacing the cheap, white-label products that characterized the market until recently.”
Retailers don’t see high margins on the phones or their associated plans, so accessories are powerful generators of revenue for them.
The most popular categories include carrying and protective cases for smartphones. Their popularity started with the iPhone 3G and 3GS: upwards of 70% of those phones have aftermarket cases. Now the fashion has also spread to high-end feature-phones such as some in the Samsung product line.
Scratch protectors are popular as well, stimulated by the proliferation of large-screen and touch-screen devices.
Bluetooth headsets have historically sold well; the research shows that attach rates for mid-low-end ($29-79) models are now dropping somewhat. However, higher-end headsets are still performing well, getting a lift from their association with smartphones.
Still popular are memory cards, but a shift in demand is also evident here: because wholesale prices are now so low, and handset makers are adding greater memory capabilities to handsets, they are including cards of 500MB to 2 GB in the box. The capacities of these included cards are rising fast. This is starting to suck oxygen out of the aftermarket memory card market, though shifting usage patterns will still help sustain moderate growth for some time.
Wired stereo headsets also doing well, driven by the more media-centric, music-capable phones.