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More splurging on fancy cases for their phones

ROBUST: The Lifeproof fre case for the iPhone 6 offers water protection.


    Dec 15, 2014

    More splurging on fancy cases for their phones

    WHETHER it is to protect their smartphone, waterproof it or to look fashionable, more Singaporeans are snapping up high-end phone cases.

    Stores which My Paper spoke to said that sales for such phone cases - which can range from those with rugged exteriors to cases with sleek designer looks - are growing.

    Nimbus, a Wheelock Place retailer that sells mobile accessories and over 40 brands of phone cases, said it sold 300 cases worth $100 or more last year.

    But this year, sales of these cases are expected to top this by about 10 per cent, said Nimbus, which targets customers in the middle range to high end of the market.

    Phone cases can cost as little as $2 from stores like Daiso.

    People who buy pricey cases ($100 and more) are evenly split between males and females, with a large proportion being professionals, managers, executives and businessmen, said Nimbus. Housewives and students also form a significant share of customers.

    Irwin Lim, merchandising director of Nimbus, said that high-end phone cases are getting more popular because they feed into consumers' desire for fashionable-looking cases.

    This is because consumers now consider their mobile devices not just as necessities but also fashion accessories and an "extension of their individuality".

    The most expensive case that Nimbus retails is a genuine ostrich skin iPhone case from Maison Takuya worth $259.

    Other pricey cases include metallic ones from Dracodesign; the Draco 6 cases can go for $139. Those from Sellot, which are embedded with crystals, sell for $109.

    Mr Lim said that "there are no clear favourites when it comes to types of casings among the different genders".

    There are options - such as cases featuring crystals, wristlets, fluffy tassels or feminine character designs - that clearly target a female audience, he said.

    "However, females also do go for designs that feature sleek metallic or wood designs with a heavy industrial touch."

    Generally, both genders go for practical case designs that combine slimness with protection, he said.

    Some customers, however, are more interested in protecting their phones, such as from drops. So high-end cases with a heavier emphasis on this - such as those from Lifeproof, which can cost more than $100 - cater to them.

    Patrick Waller, marketing director for Otterbox and Lifeproof in the Asia-Pacific region, said there has been 100 per cent year-on-year growth in sales for Lifeproof cases in South-east Asia, "with Singapore leading the way".

    Mr Waller explained that with smartphones increasingly becoming an integral part of people's lives, "more people will want to protect their smartphones as they become more popular".

    CDLegacy Group, which retails protective cases among others, said it sold an estimated 300 phone cases worth above $100 from January to June. This is estimated to be a 20 to 30 per cent rise over the same period last year.

    Ivan Choong, business development director for CDLegacy Group, said that there is also a rising trend of people doing water sports and activities, so "consumers are also increasingly looking for water resistant cases" these days.

    Some owners of protective cases rest easier now, knowing that their phones can withstand drops and wet conditions.

    "I bought a water resistant phone case for my iPhone 4S because I work in a kitchen, and it can be a wet environment," said Kiran Kaur.

    "With my casing, I don't have to worry about dropping my phone or getting it wet any longer," the 22-year-old chef explained.

    Despite the appeal of fashionable and protective cases for many, some are still not swayed.

    Said Kenzi Wheatley-Holder, 21, an animal trainer and presenter: "I think that if you take care of your phone, then those casings aren't really that important. A normal $20 case that would prevent my phone from getting scratched would suffice."