Study: Smartphone Extras Driving Sales

Who knew? It’s not just the smartphone category that is the hot-ticket
item driving
mobile phone sales. The geegaws, doo-dads and other accessories sold separately for those phones are doing some driving, too.

That’s the conclusion of a study by ABI Research. The New York-based
research firm said the market for mobile phone accessories will
generate over $32 billion in revenues in 2007. That’s more than the $28
billion expected from the smartphone market alone.

So where’s the bulk of the sales coming from? The research firm said
roughly 77 percent of those revenues will come from the sales of
“after-market” mobile phone accessories and the remaining from “in-box”
accessories shipments.

Shailendra Pandey, the analyst who wrote the report, noted that the
number of mobile phone accessories is growing, thanks to new customer technology, fashion and personalization

“Handset vendors and mobile operators are showing greater interest as
accessories provide high margins and also opportunities to promote their
brand and expand their product offerings,” Pandey said in a statement.

“The growing interest among mobile
operators is also driven by the realization that mobile phone accessories
can lead to higher ARPUs.”

It’s all about increasing those margins, ABI Research found.

“Handset vendors now recognize that to increase sales of their high-end mobile phones
and smartphones, they need to provide accessories that allow users to fully
enjoy and benefit from the features provided in those handsets.”

The signs are legion. Take Nokia, the world’s largest phone maker. Its
marketing approach is to set itself apart with a line of “mobile
enhancement” products, such as headsets for Bluetooth  connectivity, cases, “easy mount” attachments
for hands-free phones in cars, and GPS-enabling extras.

Motorola, which recently unveiled
an updated line of smartphones and mobile devices, is taking the
“self-expression” route with its marketing approach.

ABI Research said its expects the market for mobile phone accessories to
grow steadily in the next five years and to generate over $80 billion in
revenues in 2012.

It all bodes well for accessories makers with customers in
a search of a special something that makes their device different from the
next customer.

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