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88.7 Million iPods Sold Worldwide

Research & Markets: Since the Launch of the First Generation of iPod, Apple Inc. Has Sold More Than 88.7 Million Units Worldwide

Global shipments of iPod accessories are on the upswing, riding high on the steady growth of the iPod user base. Since launching the first generation of iPod in 2001, Apple Inc. has sold more than 88.7 million units worldwide.

The so-called “halo effect” that allows users to select from thousands of accessory models to enhance the iPod experience has attracted brand owners and retailers across the globe to the iPod accessory line. Many resellers have also embraced the accessory business as it generally offers higher margins and encourages up-sell and return purchases.

A big chunk of the global supply of iPod accessories came from manufacturers in Greater China. Makers cover the full iPod accessory spectrum, from high-end docking stations and entertainment systems to entry-level cases and protective film made by dry goods suppliers.

The 28 manufacturers featured in this report were selected to showcase the diverse range of iPod accessories available from the Greater China supplier base. These makers — 18 from mainland China, six from Taiwan and four from Hong Kong — comprised seasoned electronics manufacturers as well as new companies established to focus on iPod accessories.

Based on the manufacturing, product development and export statistics provided by the surveyed suppliers, the author presents the following findings:

  • Many makers have pre-existing design teams and production lines that need only slight modification to produce iPod-compatible products.
  • Portable speakers, docking stations, FM transmitters and cases are the top iPod accessories from makers across the Greater China region, due to the pre-existing supply chain of related products.
  • Product development across Greater China covers the entire spectrum of applications. For wireless accessory R&D, Taiwan makers have the advantage of proximity to chipset developers and suppliers. While the majority of the suppliers are utilizing more than 50 percent of production capacity, their available capacities are sufficient to meet the expected growth in demand.
  • Prices of iPod accessories from mainland China are expected to fall by an average of 5 percent, mainly due to increasing supply, intense competition and proliferation of new models in the market.
  • R&D is the only key process conducted by all profiled makers. Subassemblies and QA/QC are done by most suppliers.
  • Using the Made for iPod (MFI) logo in products entails a royalty fee of US$4 per unit sold. Hence some OEM focused manufacturers prefer their clients to facilitate and pay for rights to use the MFI logo.

To create this report, the research teams toured the factories of 21 makers and discussed with top-level executives about manufacturing, sales and export plans. The report has an in-depth profile of each of these makers, as well as detailed profile tables of another seven suppliers.

All suppliers were asked to participate in a survey designed to provide insights into product and price trends, and major issues facing the industry in the next 12 months.

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