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What Is an Attach Rate?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sometimes referred to as an attachment rate, an attach rate is a type of evaluation that projects the amount of complementary goods that are likely to be sold in connection with some type of primary product. The idea is that the purchase of that primary product will automatically generate a measurable amount of sales of products that have some direct correlation to that product. Projecting the attach rate can help companies identify the chances of successfully marketing and selling product lines that are somehow connected with one or more primary products.

Determining the attach rate usually involves ascertaining the number of complementary units of a given product that will be sold for use with a main product within a specified period of time. For example, a manufacturer who produces a line of CDRs may project the average number of units that the average consumer will purchase annually for use with a laptop. Making this type of projection often requires utilizing historical data as well as understanding changes that are already happening in the marketplace and are anticipated to occur during the time frame under consideration. The final attach rate is usually expressed as a ratio of a determined number of units sold of the attached product in relation to the sale of one unit of the main or primary product.

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The nature of the complementary goods that are sold as the result of their association with a primary product can be quite broad, making it necessary to determine an attach rate for each of those related goods. For example, in the case of a DVD player, the complementary products may include DVD discs, cleaning products that are formulated to remove dust from the disks, and even replacement cases for the DVDs. With each of these related goods, a manufacturer would seek to determine an attachment rate as a means of gauging demand for those goods and then schedule production quotas accordingly.

Assessing the attach rate for a complementary good can also help alert manufacturers that the time is approaching to phase and sometimes eliminate production of a given product. This was true during the latter 20th century as the introduction of CDs eclipsed the sale of vinyl recordings. As stereo equipment manufacturers began to phase out turntables as part of a basic system, record companies focused more on audio cassette and CD production while slowly reducing the number of vinyl recordings they pressed each year. At the same time, manufacturers of vinyl record cleaning products and stereo needles began to reduced production of those attached goods while incorporating production of cleaning kits suitable for CDs. By understanding the changes in the attach rate, the manufacturers were able to adapt their product lines and remain viable in the marketplace.

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