Everywhere they go—from riding the train to ordering lattes at Starbucks—tech-savvy consumers carry decorated phone cases and iPad sleeves. At the office, docking stations have full-time jobs powering electronics from 9 to 5, not to mention products like portable batteries and touch-screen styli, which are useful for cube-dwellers and road-warriors both. Given their popularity, it's no wonder that the promotional product industry has been getting creative with computer and phone accessories. From waterproof speakers to screen cleaning cloths, there's a product to meet every need.
Technology evolves so rapidly that the release of the iPhone 12 this month would hardly come as a shock. But what should you expect from tech accessories? Read on to find out.
When marketing electronics accessories, David Fiderer, director of marketing for Prime Line, Bridgeport, Conn., emphasized the benefit of staying up-to-date on technology news. "As a supplier of tech accessories, we must keep up with the changing trends in order to capitalize on what is a very hot market right now," he said. New devices are released frequently, often at different sizes and specifications. "The challenge for us is to respond quickly with accessories for the new models while continuing to market universal accessories that work with both new and older devices," Fiderer said.
To overcome the challenge of rapid change, Prime Line is offering desktop tech accessories with broad utility and longevity, like its multifunctional phone holders. "These holders provide great desk exposure for end-buyers while giving users a home for their phone, along with other benefits," Fiderer explained. Products such as their Smiley Guy holder double as a stress ball; they also offer a model that comes with a screen cleaner. Other versions of Prime Line's tech accessories battle basic, universal problems such as tangled cords. "Our new Gumbite line of cable organizers addresses this need by helping to maintain a clean and organized workspace," he said.
CREATIVITY IS KEY
According to Kim Gasparini, national sales manager for Kaufman, Texas-based Numo Inc., a bit of creativity can set you apart when considering the design of tech accessories. "We continue to push the envelope in terms of customization by adding colored thread, colored trim, and four-color process art to everything we do," Gasparini said of Numo's approach. She noted that after the release of the Windows 8 Surface tablet, the color palette of today's devices has rapidly expanded. With the onset of colored electronics, it benefits end-users to broaden color choices for their accessories.
Product design is affected not only by creativity, but also by gender. This is particularly true when it comes to size. "Typically, women look for accessories that are 'purse-able,' while men are looking for 'pocketable,'" Gasparini explained. Women are more likely to choose compact products such as the iPad mini, which can be easily tossed into a handbag. In addition to considering the gender of end-users when choosing product size, you should also keep in mind the size-shifting of today's products. "Phones are getting bigger. Tablets are getting smaller," Gasparini said. As new versions of tablets and cellphones are released, companies such as Numo develop accessories in corresponding shapes and sizes to meet end-users' needs.
POWERING THROUGH THE DAY
The ability to charge devices on the go has become a popular component of tech accessories. Mark Gardyn, vice president of Gordon Sinclair, New Hyde Park, N.Y., explained the increasing popularity of devices that provide extra power. "We see a trend in people carrying backup batteries as an additional power source for phones and tablets," he said. The newest of these batteries are as slim as credit cards, clip onto cellphones for easy use and are rechargeable. Fiderer also described the convenience of portable power. "Business people want the ability to extend battery life and charge on the go, anywhere, anytime," he said.
The extra battery power described by Gardyn and Fiderer is necessary for cellphone users who use their phones too frequently to make it through a full workday without charging them. "Today's fashionably slim phones do not quite have the battery power to last a full day's usage on the go," Gardyn noted. "Tech-savvy consumers have learned that additional battery is needed to get their phones through the day," he added. With accessories such as docking stations, backup batteries and rechargeable phone cases, the common problem of short battery life will soon become obsolete.