The Evolution of Tech Accessories
The future of technology gets a lot of attention, especially with regard to consumer electronics. But, as much as we use them, tech accessories tend to get left out of the discussion. So let’s take a minute and look at how far these little add-ons have come — and where they’re headed.
While accessories might get treated like background players in the world of electronics, they have been known to regularly steal the show. So much so in fact, that they cover some retailers’ operational costs altogether. People aren’t just grabbing accessories at the counter on their way out the door with their new iPhones; they’re actually seeking out specific add-ons to purchase.
With this in mind, what does the tech accessory market look like now, and what will it look like in the near future? Here are a few major developments that are just around the corner.
Tech accessories — originally intended to only improve functionality — are now all about the look, too. Many consumers no longer want a set of plain black or white headphones; they’re looking for items that express their personality and complement their individual style. Fashionable options are now more available — and popular — than ever, and retailers will need to increase inventory in order to meet the demand for variety.
Time to Get Smart
If you’ve always wanted to start your morning with a joke followed by the weather forecast and your daily to-do list, all provided by your Bluetooth speaker, well, you’re in luck — there’s an accessory for that. Want to skip the fitness tracker and monitor your heart rate, steps, and blood pressure with another daily device? Now your headphones can make all that happen — in addition to blasting your favorite tunes, of course. Yep, tech accessories are leading the smart revolution with updates we never saw coming.
The New Multi-function Pocket Knife
The examples above are just a few of the multi-purpose accessories out there. Even if products don’t possess built-in multi-use functionality, users themselves are discovering new and exciting ways to employ them. For example, consumers are taking products like action cameras well beyond their intended original use and employing them for things like short films, amateur journalism, and even pet research.
Little Gadgets. Big Splash.
Believe it or not, smartphone cases are a $1.3 billion industry on their own. The reason? Two of the above trends: fashion and multi-purpose use. People pay hundreds of dollars to have name-brand phone cases to solidify their place in fashion. They also purchase phone cases to double as other daily products they might need, such as toolkits, battery chargers, and memory sticks.
These products, formerly regarded as afterthoughts to a main-product sale, have come a long way. Now, they pack a big punch, proving not only their ability to positively affect consumer lifestyles, but also a propensity to impact a retailer’s bottom line.
Kevin Cundiff is Vice President of Retail for Fortegra Financial Corp., a Tiptree Financial Inc. company (NASDAQ: TIPT). Fortegra and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs.