Apple Drives Smartphone Accessories Market

By Lisa Johnston On May 8 2012 - 4:01am

NEW YORK — As with many things in consumer electronics, Apple is the big cheese in smartphone accessories.

Nearly all categories of smartphone accessories increased from Q2 2011 through Q1 2012, mostly thanks to Apple’s unprecedented success with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, Ross Rubin, executive director at The NPD Group, told TWICE.

Because the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S had the same form factor, case manufacturers were all ready to go. “It was easy to support Apple’s handset design because there’s really only one at a given time, in comparison with the latest portfolio of Androids,” Rubin said. Android phones, meanwhile, have to “reach certain volumes before a case maker will invest in creating a case customized to that handset dimensions.”

The declines in battery sales can also be attributed to Apple. “The iPhone does not have a replaceable battery. Very often, extra batteries are sold when the handset is acquired, and that’s not really an option for the iPhone,” Rubin noted.

Regarding the declines in chargers, Rubin pointed to the standardization of MicroUSB chargers across non- Apple devices, and said that consumers are using existing chargers when they replace their handsets.

Apple consumers in general tend to be stronger purchases of accessories when compared with Android users, he said. Part of this is simply because of the increased selection of Apple-compatible accessories, and part of it also because people spend more on average for their iPhones than they do on Android phones, and thus are more willing to spend to protect and accessorize them.

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