There’s been a big change in the accessory business that can save you lots of money. You know, those overpriced add-ons that we buy for phones, watches, fitness trackers, tablets, and computers. And you can thank China for that.
Remember when a printer cable cost $30 or a phone case cost $40? We saw companies such as Belkin, Griffin, Targus and others sell their products at stores such as Staples, Best Buy, and Apple that were often exorbitantly priced.
The retailers once had so much power that they would take millions of dollars of payments from some of the brands to keep out low-cost competitors. And it was the retailers that played a big part in preventing the printer companies from including the $3 cable with the printer, only so they could make an added profit.
Well, the tide has turned thanks to a number of factors. First, Amazon has made it easy for smaller, lesser known companies, to sell their products directly to us, while simultaneously making it convenient for us to find and purchase them.
The other factor is that most all of these accessory products were made in China and sold to us with huge markups by the brands that put their names on them, sometimes selling for up to 10 times the cost. As an example, a branded iPhone case selling for $40 might cost just $3 to make and package. They, in turn, would be sold to retailers for $15 and the retailer would charge us $40.
With a way to reach customers directly, numerous Chinese companies are now developing their own products and offering them for sale on Amazon. So instead of paying $40 for a case or $25 for a cable, we are now able to buy them for a fraction of the price.
Not only are we saving huge amounts of money, there are many more products to select from, and useful user feedback to ensure we make good choices. We still need to be cautious with what we buy, so read the reviews and pick the highest rated products.
I would also avoid those products that are exact copies of popular patented products, which are produced by less reputable manufacturers. After all, how reputable is a company that copies others’ patented designs? When LifeProof, a U.S. case company, developed their iconic waterproof case for the iPhones, numerous copy products showed up quickly, and buyers found out that they were not waterproof and ruined their phones. But in spite of the bad apples, many of the others are reputable and have developed good brand names, including Anker, iClever, and Monoprice.
Over the last year, I’ve bought numerous products this way, including a charger for a MacBook, cables, phone cases, portable batteries, and more. In most cases, the selling company goes out of their way to ask if you’re satisfied and makes it easy to address any issues. Their success is based on good reviews, which means inferior merchandise is quickly weeded out.
Here are some examples of the products I bought and the savings over purchasing them as a branded product through a retail store. The first of each example was purchased from Amazon.
A 6-Foot USB Type C to C Cable
Apple sells a similar cable for $19.
Phone Case for Moto Z Force Droid Phone
Similar to cases sold by OtterBox for $35.
Wall Charger for a 12-inch MacBook
Apple’s equivalent 29W Charger USB-C Power Adapter is $49.
Portable Battery for Recharging Phones and Tablets
Mophie Powerstation Duo 6000mAh battery (less than 20% of the capacity of Anker) for $99.95
Leather Watchband for Apple Watch
Apple brown leather band for 42mm Watch $149.
Transparent Plastic Screen Protector
ZAGG – InvisibleShield HD Clear Screen Protector $23.99.
Replacement Strap for Fitbit Alta
Fitbit Alta Band $29.95.
Replacement Charger for Fitbit Alta
Fitbit – 0.89′ Charging Cable for Fitbit Alta – Black Best Buy $19.99.
Note that these are not exceptions, but typical examples of the savings you can find. It’s always important to shop with care and read the reviews. But if you do, you’ll find you can free yourselves of the high prices and markups for many of your accessories. And it’s not that they are of lesser quality, more often it’s just the elimination of the middlemen that have been taking much of the profit.