Apple starts to eat Otterbox's lunch with iPhone cases

The company's new cases for iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S are stealing some of the dominance Otterbox enjoys with the iPhone 4S case market.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Apple's iPhone 5C covers.
Apple's iPhone 5C covers. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Otterbox is by far the dominant force in iPhone cases, according to a new study, but Apple is starting to make inroads.

Otterbox, which makes a wide array of cases for mobile products, owns more than 50 percent of the iPhone 4S case market, according to new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). And while the company is still holding the biggest share for individual firms in the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S market, Apple's cases are likely an increasingly worrisome presence for the case-maker.

According to CIRP, Apple's iPhone 5C cases account for nearly 10 percent of the case market for that device, compared to around 20 percent for Otterbox. Apple's iPhone 5S cases own about 15 percent of the market, compared to Otterbox's nearly 25 percent share.

Apple made waves in the accessories market earlier this year when it unveiled its own cases alongside its new iPhones. The company's cases come in several different color options and cost between $29 and $39. When folks head to Apple's online store, they'll find the company's own cases listed first, followed by those made by others. Several of Apple's ads promote its cases.

Having a case to go along with an iPhone has become a bit of a necessity for quite a few owners. According to CIRP, 76 percent of iPhone owners have a case for their handset, making it the most popular iPhone accessory. Just half have a screen protector or car charger and one out of five uses a Bluetooth headset with the handset.