CEA Tracks Accessories Growth

By John Laposky On Jul 21 2008 - 6:00am

The results of a survey of U.S. adults by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) points to wireless technology, the popularity of laptop PCs and digital imaging as the primary drivers of present and future sales growth in the accessories category.

Batteries for wireless communications devices such as cellphones and PDAs showed the greatest increase in household ownership over the four-year period from 2003 through 2007, rising 21 percentage points to 75 percent, in line with the increase of cellphone ownership overall, CEA said.

But not everyone is roaming wirelessly, as computer desks and workstations were second on the list of most-owned accessories, with 72 percent.

The growth in sales of home theater and high-definition video components was reflected in a 70 percent level of ownership of A/V connection cables, 66 percent ownership of universal remote controls and 64 percent for both TV stands/entertainment centers and surge protectors/power strips.

The growth in A/V cable sales seems to indicate a high rate of upgrading by consumers, according to CEA. While most A/V components ship with a connector, only 40 percent of consumers surveyed said their current connectors were the originals.

Also, though missing the top 10 cut, wall mounts for flat-panel TVs were cited for their potential to have a larger potential market than the current incidence of mounting may suggest. According to CEA, though only one-third of flat-panel display owners have mounted their panels, 67 percent of consumers indicated they intend to do so within three years.

The growing popularity of laptop PCs fed sales of several of the fastest-growing products over the four-year period. Wireless-mouse sales were edged out for the top slot by wireless handset batteries, 21 percent to 20 percent growth. But ownership of carrying cases for PCs grew by 19 percentage points and USB hubs/port replicators followed at 14 percent growth. Other categories showing double-digit growth included laptop security devices and wireless keyboards.

Americans seem to have big plans to step up their hygiene habits as eight of the top 10 products that consumers expect to buy within one year are cleaning products for devices and components. The only non-cleaning products to crack the top 10 in anticipated purchases were portable DVD storage devices and wireless mice. Consumers expect to purchase approximately 175 million units of cleaning products in 2008.

Digital imaging accessories had the strongest showing among products that were gifted to their owners. Filters, lenses, tripods and monopods, digital camera cleaners, photo printers, camera carrying cases and battery chargers were all cited among the most gifted items.

PC accessories such as wrist pads for keyboards, mousepads, laptop carrying cases, wireless keyboards, laptop security devices and Web cameras were all cited as popular gifted products.

Another trend highlighted is that of portable media player (PMP) owners upgrading to better listening options. Only 34 percent of PMP headphone owners said their current headphones came with their player.

Top 10 CE Accessories Owned
By percentage of households
Category2007 Owned2003 Owned% Change
Wireless handset batteries75%54%21%
Computer desk/workstation72%63%9%
A/V connection cables70%65%5%
Camera batteries67%57%10%
Universal remote control66%66%0%
Wireless handset battery recharger66%57%9%
TV stand/entertainment center64%68%-4%
Surge suppressor/power strip64%60%4%
PC peripheral cables64%59%5%
Base: U.S. adults
Source: CEA © TWICE 2008

Fastest Growing CE Accessories
By percentage of households
Category2007 Owned2003 Owned% Change
Wireless handset batteries75%54%21%
Wireless mouse31%11%20%
Carrying case for laptop pc40%21%19%
USB hub/port replicator35%21%14%
Corded game pad/controller31%17%14%
Laptop pc security device19%8%11%
Wireless keyboard18%7%11%
CD/DVD storage57%46%11%
Base: U.S. adults
Source: CEA © TWICE 2008

Highest Expected Sales Volume
percentage of households who expect to purchase accessory
CategoryWithin 1 yearUnits (millions)
Cleaning product for wireless device28%26.49
PC keyboard cleaner32%26.27
Cleaning product for home A/V39%25.79
Cleaning product for digital imaging device29%25.79
Cleaning product for computer31%23.32
Cleaning product for portable music player25%21.95
Cleaners for cassette heads, VCR, lens, etc.26%16.60
Cleaning product for gaming device15%14.88
Portable dvd storage device18%14.36
Wireless mouse16%12.59
Base: U.S. adults who don't yet own the accessory
Source: CEA © TWICE 2008

Most Gifted Accessories
percentage of households who obtained an accessory as a gift
Category% Gifted
Filter for digital camera11%
Lens for digital camera7%
Wrist pad for PC6%
Carrying case for laptop PC4%
Electronic musical instrument4%
Cleaning product for digital imaging devices3%
Photo printer with docking station3%
Wireless PC keyboard3%
Laptop computer security device3%
Carrying case for digital camera3%
Battery charger for digital camera3%
Web camera3%
Office chair3%
Base: U.S. adults with the accessory in the household
Source: CEA © TWICE 2008

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