The typical US owner of a mobile phone spends about $60 on accessories over the life of the handset, and that the global wireless handset accessories market is worth about $63 billion in 2009, according to the results of a recent survey.

Among other questions the ABI survey ("Mobile Device Accessories: US Consumer Purchasing Trends and Channel Analysis"), conducted in July 2009, asked 1,000 adult consumers which of the many available accessories they acquired at the time the handset was purchased, and where they sourced the accessories they bought later.

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According to industry analyst Michael Morgan: "Chargers - car chargers, standard chargers and additional chargers - led the field in terms of numbers purchased. Carrying or protective cases were the next most popular, followed by batteries and memory cards."

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Other accessory types include hands-free kits, headsets, and cosmetic enhancements.

Within those categories, age demographics played a role in the popularity of accessories.

Younger (under 40) purchasers tended more than those over 40 to buy batteries, data connection cables and protective cases at the time of the phone's purchase.

"The popularity of data cables and protective cases among younger buyers reflects the greater likelihood that they own a higher-priced media-focused handset or smartphone," said Morgan, referring to the fashion for mobiels such as Apple's iPhone.

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Charger purchasing patterns are likely to change quite dramatically in a couple of years as the GSMA's universal charger interface starts to penetrate the market.

Where do consumers buy their accessories? In this respect particularly the survey's results are US-specific, given the leading role retail stores operated by the major mobile service providers play there. Across the board about half of all accessories were bought in these outlets, with major retail stores generally running second. Online sales were surprisingly low for some kinds of accessories.