Mobile Phone Cases Most Popular Accessory Purchase

According to The NPD Group, a leading market research company, revenues from mobile phone accessories in the U.S. increased 32% during the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year. Mobile phone cases were the most popular accessories category, growing 69% over the prior year, followed by stereo headphones with microphones, which grew 67%. In addition, case sales grew as average prices for these products rose 25%. 

According to NPD’s “Mobile Phone Accessories Attach Rate Study,” recent mobile phone case buyers cited protection and durability (86%) as the top purchase influencers, followed by quality materials (73%), and minimal bulkiness (66%). Aesthetics and price play a lesser role in the purchasing decision, with just under half of recent case buyers considering these attributes important.

Smartphones tend to feature slim designs and glass materials, so protection accessories have become a virtual necessity to safeguard smartphone owners’ investments,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “Price holds less importance than protection on the list of purchase influencers, and consumer concern over the quality of materials indicates the performance of these accessories is more important than their aesthetics or cost.”


Nearly half of all consumers who bought their phones in-​store attached an accessory at the time of purchase. In-​store buyers also tended to spend more on add-​ons at the time of their purchases, spending nearly three times as much as those who acquired their phones in online or over-​the-​phone channels. Even so, many mobile phone retailers are missing out on a significant amount of accessory revenues that eventually take place after a consumer leaves the store or website with their newly purchased phone. Among those mobile phone buyers who bought accessories within the first six months after the original phone transaction, four out of five reported visiting a different retailer from their mobile phone seller to make these aftermarket accessory purchases.

"With the consumer’s focus on lower prices and wide product assortment, online retailers like Amazon and eBay are emerging as leading choices for aftermarket accessory purchases,” Arnold said. “It is imperative that mobile-​phone retailers capitalize on the initial phone transaction, in order to keep more accessory buying within their doors.”

[Source:  “Mobile Phone Accessories Attach Rate Study.”  The NPD Group.  21 Aug. 2012.  Web.  22 Aug. 2012.]