By the end of 2009 the world’s mobile handset accessories market will have chalked up a value of nearly $55 billion. That represents a small decrease from the 2008 figure, surprising only in that the decline has not been larger.
“While improving slightly, handset accessory market growth will remain somewhat sluggish in 2010, and not until 2011 will the 2008 figure be surpassed. After that, we expect, strong growth will resume,” said industry analyst Michael Morgan.
Within that overall picture, certain segments – notably the very important memory card market – face particular challenges. The memory card market, according to the analyst, has been so oversupplied that selling prices are barely above production costs. Those conditions may be starting to change, however.
“While it’s always dangerous trying to call the bottom of a market, very recently it has begun to look as if memory card prices are stabilizing and even starting to rise slightly,” explained Mr. Morgan.
One positive – for the consumer – result of the low prices is the increase in capacity of cards that are offered “in the box” with mobile handsets. Whereas 512 MB or 1 GB cards were formerly the norm, the low prices mean that buyers are pleasantly surprised to find cards up to 8 GB accompanying their phones. That’s seen as a positive selling point by handset vendors, since the multimedia capabilities of many models today chew through storage and processing power as never before.
Faced with the commoditization of their products, some memory vendors are starting to experiment with new ways of increasing the cards’ value to consumers, such as pre-loading them with music, or having a card include both a video game and supporting software, so when it is added to a phone, it will not only provide the game but improve the device’s gaming capabilities.