Retailers Stocking Up on Smartphone Accessories


iphonecover_2010_11

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly upon us, and retailers are expecting to sell tons of electronics during the shopping frenzy — particularly smartphones and tablets/iPads. And many stores are stocking phone and iPad accessories alongside all of those gadgets in the hopes of increasing sales even more.

Marketwatch reports that Office Depot just added “more than 100 products to support Apple and Blackberry models such as the BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Tour, Apple iPhone 3G, and Apple iPhone 4.”

Randy Wick, the company’s VP of merchandising, told TMCnet.com that, “Office Depot now has one of the largest retail assortments of smartphone accessories in the country.”

There’s method to all this stocking: Computer Business Review reports that “after phone” purchases like sleeves, shells, chargers, and screen protectors accounted for a “worldwide revenue of $26.5 billion” last year, and that by 2015, sales of such add-ons will be in the $50 billion dollar range. An executive from ABI Research, the company that ran the numbers, said that since smartphones are considered “higher value” than regular phones, customers are more willing to spend considerable money to protect them from damage.

Though still a smaller market, tablets, from the iPad to the Kindle, are also getting accessorized — and everyone wants in on producing these accessories, from luxury brands like Chanel and Gucci to big box chains like Wal-Mart. Businessweek explains that “accessories increasingly represent an important revenue stream: As competition intensifies, prices for wireless plans and smartphones are declining.” And accessories, “carry [profit] margins of 30% to 90%.”

So expect to see plenty of options, from cases to headphones, when you’re out shopping next weekend.