iPod Accessor-conomy

I am, if anything, even more amazed at the size and growth of the iPod accessory economy than at the size and growth of the iPod market itself:

NPD does not yet have figures on the market for iPod accessory sales
alone, but that during the first nine months of 2005, total portable
digital player accessory revenue [ed., iPod has more than 75% of the player market, so…] reached $412 million in the United
States — a 370% increase from the same period in 2004 — with accessory
sales generating nearly 26 cents for every $1 of digital player sales. [Emphasis mine]


  1. As an ex-Apple Retail employee, I can say that this doesn’t surprise me too much for 2 reasons.
    1. Retail Upsell – Seeing the iPod in person and having contact with it is important and is reflected by Apple Retail’s huge revenue percentage. I can’t tell you how many people would say things like, “why’s would I want an iPod when Creative has the same capacity for cheaper?” then actually use an iPod and love the UI and tactile experience. Once customers were in the store, we were encouraged to upsell. It’s very easy to frame a carrying case as an “investment” to someone paying $300 for their new iPod… MSRP $40 and up.
    2. Individuation – Before the iPod (and other PMP’s) became popular and iconic, having one set a person apart stylistically; “whoa, look at the guy with *white* headphones!”. Through 2005 year many more people had white headphones and suddently it became the status quo. Now every girl wants the Prada case (because the popular girl has it), the skater wants something in camo, and the Microsoft exec wants replacement black headphones and a nondescript case so that people think he’s using a Sony player.
    I think there are other lesser factors: geeks appreciate the accessories that “hack” the iPod in particular (add a microphone, use it as an external HD, plug it into a TV), dads like accessories that simplify life (no need for a hifi system when I could get the Bose SoundDock @$300), little girls like the portable speakers and “cute” accessories (apologies to all the women to whom this does not apply), etc. Oh, also I would say that approximately 75% (I was shocked) of all Apple Store customers purchased or returned to purchase one of the car playing solutions and those started at ~$40.
    I really got a feeling in my stint at Apple that as it got more successful, the accessories actually pushed sales of the iPod and greatly increased its appeal.

  2. heard there’s more that 300 (!) available ipod accessories.