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Success Story: iHome iH5 iPod Clock Radio

There’s an iPod speaker system, or hi-fi station, for every application.

Consumers can choose among iPod-docking clock radios, AC/DC boomboxes, AC/DC travel speakers, DC-only tabletop systems and AM/FM/CD shelf systems. All types have achieves unit-volume sales success, but the most successful type during the June 2006-May 2007 period has been the iPod-docking clock radio, according to The NPD Group’s unit-volume sellthrough statistics.

Three clock radios, all from iHome, placed first, second and seventh among the top 10 iPod speaker systems by unit volume during the 12-month period, NPD found. The iHome iH5 AM/FM clock radio in black and white versions took the top two spots, respectively, at retail prices that currently range from $82 to $99 at on-line sites. They outsold the more expensive $299 Bose Sound Dock, a DC-only tabletop model without clock radio functions but with higher output. Apple’s AC/DC iPod HiFi boombox with integrated carrying handle took 10th place.

The iH5 took top honors even though retailers have been advertising it aggressively only since February, and even though the number of ad placements was only about half that of the most-advertised product, the Bose SoundDock, according to an ad-frequency analysis by IFR Group. IFR’s statistics combine the black and white versions of the iH5 and Bose SoundDock.

Also among the top 10 unit-volume leaders were Logitech’s mm50 AC/DC travel speaker system in black and white, iLive’s AM/FM/CD boombox and JBL’s AC-only speaker dock with RF remote.

With the iHome’s top price of only $99, price was a major factor accounting for high iH5 volume compared with more expensive systems such as the $299 Bose Sound Dock and Apple’s $349 iPod Hi-Fi. At its price point, the iHome clock radios offer more functionality that similarly priced iPod speaker systems that lack AM/FM and alarm clock.

The iH5 features iPod charging, line-in and line-out jacks, back-lit buttons, wake volumes that gradually rise, snooze bar, and a remote that controls basic iPod functions, including track up/down. The remote doesn’t control the iPod’s complete navigation menu.

To promote the iH5, retailers gradually ramped up advertising beginning in February, when the product was advertised only 14 times, IFR found. Ad frequency rose to 95 in March, dropped to 84 in April, and rebounded to 107 and 139 in May and June, respectively.

Those numbers paled before the Bose onslaught of 86 ads in March, 209 in April, 231 in May and 290 in June. Bose retailers have been consistently and aggressively advertising the SoundDock since last September, and ad frequency climaxed in December 2006 at 609.

Apple’s iPod HiFi, in contrast, has been advertised only rarely after its June 2006 launch, when the device appeared in 209 ads. Ad frequency quickly trailed off and, in December, was advertised only 57 times, IFR found.

Top 10 Portable Digital Player Docking Speakers

Unit volume share at retail

June 2006 – May 2007