iPod ecosystem grows and grows

“Last year, Apple sold 32 million iPods, or one every second. But for every $3 spent on an iPod, at least $1 is spent on an accessory, estimates Steve Baker, an analyst for the NPD Group, a research firm. That works out to three or four additional purchases per iPod,” Damon Darlin reports for The New York Times. “That obviously makes accessory makers happy. It thrills retailers, whose profit margin on the accessories is much higher than on an iPod. And it delights Apple because the racks of add-ons made just for the iPod — 2,000 different items at last count — send a strong statement to consumers that the Apple player is far cooler than a Creative or Toshiba player, for which there are few accessories.”

“Sales of all those cases, car rechargers and docking stations totaled $850 million last year, Mr. Baker said, and that is not even counting Internet sales. Sales will easily soar well beyond $1 billion this year,” Darlin reports. “An entire ecosystem has emerged around the music player, introduced by Apple in October 2001. Other manufacturers had produced MP3 players earlier. But the simple design of the iPod, plus Apple’s iTunes store, quickly helped Apple to dominate the market. And that simple design — some might even call it bland — encouraged people to personalize the machine.”

“There are now more than twice as many iPod accessories as there were just last summer, according to Apple. And that number does not include the docking stations that will be available in 40 percent of cars sold in the United States this year,” Darlin reports. “Apple has encouraged a free-for-all, and its own share of the accessories market remains small. That will change. Apple is aware of the power of this market and is getting more active. Indeed, at the recent Macworld conference, Apple demonstrated that it wanted more of this lucrative field. It made a splash with an attachment, the $50 Radio Remote, that plays FM radio through the iPod.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
iPod economy expands into video accessories – January 06, 2006
Apple iPod owners spend millions on accessories, keep ‘iPod economy’ churning – March 04, 2005
Apple Computer spawns ‘white, white world of the iPod economy’ – October 21, 2004


  1. Ain’t that the truth when it comes to spending money on accessories!

    Let’s see….for my 5G iPod video (black) I’ve bought 2 skins, 2 audio/video adapters (Ebay mistake), a cassette adapter for the car (a Sony, which doesn’t sound too shabby), and a pair of nice headphones.

    The funny thing is, I’ll probably buy more stuff for it.

  2. that simple design — some might even call it bland

    Bland? Why is it some people think ‘simple’ equals ‘bland’. My God, we’re not talking about Beige Boxes here…iPods are simple and elegant. Not bland.

  3. The Times’ writers, one of which is David Pogue, seem to be quite a pro-Apple bunch. They’re not quite as fawning as The Journal’s Walter Mossberg, but I don’t I think I’ve seen a negative piece on either Apple or Jobs from this paper.

  4. The network effect of the accessories market has to be spectacular. But the article did not go into the automobile accessories — just a brief mention. The new car iPod ready market — iPod ready entertainment on the dealer’s price list — is a big deal. This and aftermarket iPod ready automobile systems are a huge potential market by themselves, but they also make Apple the leader to dominate the home entertainment market, especially the so called “convergence box” we are all expecting for Apple to announce. So the “ecosystem” for the iPod is far greater than the article covers.

  5. What, this is news?

    I mean, back during the Xmas shopping season, the first 14 pages of the Sharper Image catalog was devoted to iPod accessories. Nothing else, just iPod accessories. Then, I knew the apocalypse had hit.

    As for Pogue, didn’t he use to write for MacWorld or something?

  6. There are some really interesting and innovative iPod accessories out there, like the Hushpod, and the Tunebuckle. But there doesn’t seem to be much for the video iPod…

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