Apple Accessories Think Outside The Dock
By Lisa Johnston On Oct 18 2010 - 3:01am
— When it comes to iPod and MP3 player accessories,
nothing gets manufacturers salivating
like new Apple models. According to The NPD
Group, based in Port Washington, N.Y., sales
of iPod and MP3 player accessories increased 8 percent year
NPD said the category sold 8.9 million units
from June through August of 2010, compared
with 8.2 million units in June through August 2009. NPD includes
the following products in its definition of MP3 player accessories:
AC adapter/chargers, car chargers, docking cradle
cable, cases/bags, skin/faceplates, wireless/FM transmitters
and modulators, mounting kits, batteries, docking speakers,
arm bands, cassette adapters, voice recorder, remote control,
audio connectors, splitters, complete kits, non-docking
speaker, and some combinations of these products.
Despite this increase, some of which can be attributed to the crossover between iPod and iPhone accessories,
iPod accessories aren’t expected to see much of a lift
this holiday selling season, with sales in the category
likely to be flat.
Ross Rubin, NPD industry analysis director, said that
MP3 players have been experiencing year-over-year declines.
“In general, [the market] will likely see some decline
in iPod accessories as the volumes decrease. There
also seems to be a bit of a delayed effect — we see consumers
get iPods for holiday gifts, and then we see a bit of
a bump in accessory sales after a delay as they’re looking
for things to complement the player.
“The new form factors and new dock design of the
iPhone renders some of the old speaker docks incompatible
for charging, so we may see some of the replacement
market kick in,” Rubin added.
The new Touch and Nano models have been able to
pave the way for new opportunities for accessory manufacturers.
“The iPod Touch has been doing well,” he said,
“and that opens up some possibilities in terms of things
like video docks or some photo accessories that really
weren’t much of an opportunity with the older models.
Even the video-conferencing support on the products
opens up new opportunities in terms of microphones,
stands and other things that might not have been as important
in the past.
“We may also see some shifts,” Rubin noted. “With the
new iPod Nano, there may be less interest in say an armband
for jogging. But, on the other hand, we’re starting to
see other kinds of things it might clip too — like these wrist
straps that turn it into a sort of watch.”