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CEA: Accessories Sales To Rise In ’14

Arlington, Va. Total sales of consumer electronics accessories, excluding batteries and blank media, will continue to rise in 2014, according to new research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The report, “CE Accessories at Retail,” projects a slight increase of $13 million in this category, buoyed by the popularity of tablet and smartphone accessories, headphones and ear buds, raising 2014’s CE accessories sales projection to $8.5 billion in revenue.

According to the research, 59 percent of online consumers surveyed purchased CE accessories in the last year. The most popular items purchased by online consumers were ear buds (42 percent), wireless phone chargers (41 percent), wireless phone cases (32 percent) and wireless mice (30 percent). These items, along with extra memory cards for digital imaging devices and over-the-ear headphones, are consumers’ most commonly planned accessory purchases for the year ahead, as well.

The CEA research also gauged consumers’ buying behavior, reporting that the majority of online consumers surveyed (66 percent) said physical stores are the main channel they use to shop for, learn about and purchase accessories, citing convenience as their primary motivation. Those consumers who choose to buy accessories online said this option offers the best prices, convenience and enables easier browsing and comparison shopping, the CEA study showed.

Only a small percentage of consumers, however, use mobile devices to shop for accessories (7 percent) or actually buy items (2 percent).

Consumers surveyed said quality is the most important factor when choosing CE accessories, while need and brand name also influence their decisions. Among the other findings:

Seventy-seven percent of online consumers said they plan ahead for their accessory purchases, rather than make impulse buys (23 percent).

Consumers who do make unplanned purchases said store displays (27 percent) have the biggest influence on their buying behavior.

Fifty percent of consumers buy an accessory at the same time they purchase the CE device for which it is intended.

Accessories with the highest attachment rates include those for video game devices (72 percent), wireless phones (66 percent) and computing devices (61 percent).

While purchase motivation varies by the type of CE device with which an accessory will be used, the most common reason is to replace a broken accessory (26 percent).

About half of consumers (48 percent) are interested in personalizing their accessories through color (67 percent) and design options (62 percent).  

Additionally, about half of consumers are interested in saving money by purchasing either packages containing all accessories (52 percent) for a particular device or some other type of bundled package (42 percent). Just 19 percent, however, prefer to purchase accessories individually

The “CE Accessories at Retail” study (March 2014) was administered via Internet web form between Dec. 13-20, 2013, to an online national sample of 1,029 U.S. people 18 and older who purchased a CE accessory in the past 12 months. The study was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research,

The complete report is available at no cost to CEA member companies at, while non-members may purchase the report at