A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that nearly half of consumers will shop to replace an accessory included with their consumer electronics purchase and that they will base their accessory purchase decisions on functionality rather than price.

“Accessories Purchasing in the 21st Century” shows 61% of online U.S. consumers shopped for accessories in the past year and more than half (53%) made a purchase.

“Product quality, enhancing performance and getting the word out through satisfied customers are key factors for consumers in purchasing accessories,” says Rhonda Daniel, manager of market research for CEA (http:/www.CE.org). “Consumers place more value on quality and functionality of the accessory than price when making purchase decisions.”

According to the study, 41% of consumers will upgrade an accessory that came with a device to get a better quality one. While quality is important, enhancing the performance of the device is the primary reason behind most accessory purchases as 26% of consumers made accessory purchases for this purpose. Word of mouth is essential in attracting consumers to accessory purchases. On average, consumers consult five sources when searching for information with people they know who own the product (54%), friends and family (45%) and online customer reviews (44%) topping the list.

The study also found that 75% of accessory purchases are made after the purchase of the underlying device, with the majority of purchases taking place at brick and mortar retailers. Price and convenience were the top factors for consumers in determining where to purchase the product.

“It should come as no surprise that the top-selling accessory products are for devices in product categories that enjoy extremely high ownership rates,” says Daniel. Video and audio accessories were the most widely purchased, and the top accessories purchased across all categories are cleaning products, carrying cases and accessories for powering and charging electronic devices.