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Growing electronic needs

BY Barbara White-Sax

Consumer electronic accessories are a big business, and drug stores increasingly are grabbing more share. In 2011, mobile phone accessories sales totaled $1.24 billion, up 10% from 2010, according to NPD Group.


“Accessories are very inexpensive, and they have a large base of users,” said Stephen Baker, NPD VP and senior industry analyst for consumer technology. “Every customer that’s coming into a drug store has a need for screen protectors, ear buds, headphones or cases. So there’s a lot of opportunity to sell products that generally retail for under $20.”


Gary Rep, VP sales and marketing for FiFo Wireless, said more than 96% of Americans have cell phones, and the average consumer spends $69 or more on cell phone accessories. FiFo created a floor-stand spinner rack that brings together the most popular cell phone products — most retailing for $11.99 — in a turnkey display that takes up 1 sq. ft. of floor space.


Bluetooth accessories generally exceed the $11.99 price point, but consumers, especially in business areas, are willing to spend on products that have become a necessity.


The accessories segment offers steep margins. Mobile phone accessories, ear buds and headphones are some of the fastest-growing segments of the category. “There’s been a real rebirth in the headphone category. The growth [is in] very high-end products that bear the name of rappers. The category has become a fashion statement,” said Alan Wolf, senior 
editor at Twice magazine.

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Washing up

BY Barbara White-Sax

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble has brought innovation to the laundry detergent category with Tide Pods, a three-chamber unit 
liquid-dose detergent that cleans, fights stains and brightens all in one premeasured product. Tide Pods, the first product of its kind on the market, contain three chambers that separate the components so they remain stable and potent until the moment they mix in the wash. The 3-in-1 product reduces steps, making laundry simpler and less time-consuming. P&G hopes to trade consumers up; at a suggested retail price of $9.99 for 35 pods, the product retails for about 25% more than traditional Tide. Testing for the product revealed that more than 95% of consumers said the product “provided excellent results with minimal time and effort.”

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Floam, Gak make a comeback

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — 1990s playtime staples Floam and Gak are making their return to store shelves.

NSI International and Nickelodeon said both of the items have been reformulated with new manufacturing technologies and include new ingredients, and are phthalate-, latex- and BPA-free. Nickelodeon Floam is a texturized molding compound, while Nickelodeon Gak is stretchy and squishy collectible goo.

"Nickelodeon’s Floam and Gak were a phenomenon with kids in the 1990’s and we are thrilled to reintroduce these toys to a whole new generation of kids," Nickelodeon SVP global toys and consumer electronics Manuel Torres said. "Kids of all ages enjoy tactile, creative play and Floam and Gak provide imaginative and unique play experiences."

Floam and Gak are available at retailers nationwide, including Walgreens and Target, for a suggested retail price of $5.99 each.

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