The big business of licensing in mobile accessories

Apparently a new mobile phone is like a new car in many ways - a prized possession, a thing to flaunt and incomplete without accessories. Amidst the rising popularity of smartphones, it is the mobil...
The big business of licensing in mobile accessories

Apparently a new mobile phone is like a new car in many ways – a prized possession, a thing to flaunt and incomplete without accessories. Amidst the rising popularity of smartphones, it is the mobile accessories’ industry that is making the most of the burgeoning mobile phone industry, so much so that accessories industry alone was pegged at a worth of $1 billion in 2014. It is the positioning of mobile accessories as a style statement, that once fragment and organized, the industry for mobile accessories is witnessing entry of a plethora of ‘brands’ and organized players. The global mobile phone accessories market is projected to register CAGR of 6.9 per cent during 2015 to 2025, while recording a net worth of 121,726.7 million by end of 2025. Broadly bifurcated into four categories – protective cases, audio offering, power products and storage devices (Flash Drive, pen-drive), this industry is primarily driven by the entertainment related properties. And this is one of the reasons; licensing fraternity finds enormous opportunity in this segment.

Securing the deal Fuelled by the growing smartphone proliferation and expanding urban population, that has led to surge in demand for advance mobile accessories as power banks and audio offerings, this segment has become one of the most readily available categories for licensing. Commenting on the growing craze for mobile accessories, Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Consumer Products, Disney India said, “The mobile phone and tablet has become an essential device for the youth today and literally an extension of their self. We have seen this translate into a strong demand for our consumer electronics accessories which cut across phone and tablet covers, power banks, head phones, speakers and much more.” He further adds, “As with other categories like apparel, these accessories with the character designs provide a wider range of choice and allow the youth to express themselves.  Our Super Heroes such as The Avengers, iconic characters from the Star Wars universe and the universally lovable character such as Mickey resonate well in the category.”

Commenting on the same, Anand Singh, Director – South Asia, Turner international asserted, “It shows the changing trend among the consumers and I keep referring this to people that now 50 is the new 40 and people are getting younger, which is also depicted in their purchase patterns. If people identify with certain characters, it is not embarrassing anymore to admit it and carry it all the time.” Specifically with mobiles covers, which is rapidly growing segment; Turner had sealed deals on Batman, Superman, Justice League, Batman v Superman and one of the Suicide Squad characters - Joker has altogether a different set of merchandise.

Decoding the demand Talk about the brands, and there is a California based brand Incipio that is the leading designer and manufacturer of mobile device accessories for labels like Tumi and Kate Spade New York. “The trend is that with every gadget you buy, there are 5-6 accessories you buy along with your gadget. These days, mobile cases are not just functional thing but reflect your personality along with being a style statement.

There are people who change phone cases every few days,” asserted Binal Shah, COO, Macmerise – a brand that has the maximum number of licenses on board including that of Disney, Marvel, Masaba Gupta among others. While protective cases and covers have been the most popular ones, taking a major share of the market, mobile power banks are also making their way into must own basics. And as experts believe, mobile power banks will continue to dominate the mobile accessory industry for the next few years.

The brands like Portronics and Macmerise are popular in this segment with price points around INR 1500. But there is a huge disparity in the mobile accessory market with several brands competing for market share owing to Chinese manufacturing infrastructure. Low cost manufacturing and parallel imports have led to the advent of a huge unorganized market, the size of which is estimated at about 60 per cent of the overall market. While other categories may vouch on the power of stores, online is the place for mobile accessories given that one won’t think of going to a mall to buy a phone case as it is very impulse purchase. It is more driven online, however having said that, offline has a humongous reach.

What is creating demand?

  • Increasing disposable income coupled with growing GDP of developing nations
  • Expanding urban population characterized by HNIs and urban upper class
  • Surge in demand for advanced and authentic accessories as powerbanks and earphones
  • Proliferation of smartphones
  • Strong distribution network especially eRetail that has fuelled growth in this segment
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