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Sun 1 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Accessories vendors jostle for market share

MP3 accessories sales in the United States expected to top US$2 billion in 2006

The market for MP3 player accessories will exceed US$2 billion in the United States in 2006, according to a new report published by Research and Markets.

Vendors have flocked to capitalise on consumer demand for accessories predominantly designed for Apple’s dominant iPod portable music player. However, with rival vendors releasing new products in the segment, the market for new accessories is expected to expand considerably. The accessories market currently accounts for more than one-third of all revenue generated in the portable music player sector in the US.

Research and Markets found that there were currently more than 200 suppliers of iPod accessories worldwide, with an increasing number of companies specialising in universal accessories.

Apple launched the “Made For Apple” licensing scheme earlier this year. Accessory manufacturers pay a flat US$4 per unit fee to participate in the program, which also provides them rights to the of- ficial iPod accessories logo.

The IFA 2006 consumer electronics exhibition recently staged in Berlin showcased a range of new accessories developed for rival portable MP3 players. One of the largest suppliers of iPod accessories, Belkin, revealed new products designed for use with portable music players developed by rival vendors including Creative, iriver, Sony and Toshiba.

Meanwhile, industry newcomer SanDisk Corporation announced that it had signed agreements with a host of manufacturers to develop accessories including speaker docks, travel cases, headphones, armbands, FM auto transmitters, chargers and cables, for its recently released range of Sansa portable music players.

Signatories to the ‘Made for Sansa’ programme include Altec Lansing, DLO (Digital Lifestyle Outfitters), Griffin Technology, HandStands, Macally Peripherals and Speck Products.

Research and Markets found that retail competition in the MP3 accessories market was fierce, with more than 49% of consumers surveyed preferring to buy products from the high street, compared to just 27% who were willing to make a purchase online.

The company also found that 15% of respondents currently own an MP3 player or MP3 accessory, and that a further 4% plan to acquire one in the next six months.

Aftermarket headphones remained the most popular accessory among those surveyed, ahead of car audio products, protective cases and USB adaptors.

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