One of the most overlooked items of our everyday life, the phone case.
Most of us consider our phones to be one of the most important items in our lives that we can’t leave home without. But that little accessory attached to our phones that acts as a line between having a functioning phone and having a square piece of shattered glass is…….a phone cover.
Like most of us clumsy people out there, we drop our phones all the time. And that little prayer you say before you assess the damage is the difference between having a protective phone cover or not.
In 2018, the U.S. mobile phone protective cover market was estimated to be 28.53 billion U.S. dollars in size. The market size is forecast to grow to 74.43 billion U.S. dollars by 2026.
Whether you have an interest or have no idea where to start, in this blog, you will learn how to ship phone covers from China, and how to find suppliers accordingly in China.
Step 1. Sourcing
Where are most phone cover factories located in China?
Most export-oriented phone accessories, in particular, phone cases are shipped from Shenzhen
Here's where the fun begins and your creative side can shine through.
Choose your cover type
Transparent Silicone/Gel Back Cover:
If you search for something very light in weight, basic, and yet does not take away the phone’s beauty, then these silicone or transparent back cover or gel cases may be the right fit for you. They come soft, flexible, and provide decent protection to the phone.
Plastic phone Case:
The most common in the market in mobile phone cases is the plastic variant. They are readily available and reliable by many, providing decent protection and safety.
Hybrid Back Case:
It is excellent and top-class in providing protection and safety to the mobile and can even rank against more significant damages against mobile.
The rubberized mobile back case is among the common variants, which comes with a rubber material. This rubber fabric is resistant to scratching. However, it can lose shelf life in a few months.
Flip phone Case:
The flip case is the most famous case for complete and wholesome protection. They provide all-around safety to your mobile and have even an inbuilt protection layer inside it.
Metal Back Case:
Made with aluminum or related alloy, this phone case is made to offer complete protection to the body. Besides these, the phone does not get heated up when the metal case is used, given how it dissipates the heat to the surroundings.
Wooden Back Cover:
They may be either real or faux wood manufactured cases. However, they offer excellent protection against damage. They are further long-lasting and do not get dirty or spoiled too!
Carbon fiber Cover:
Carbon Fiber phone cases give an elegant and unique look. They have good grip and hold, and are manufactured by using military-grade Kevlar fiber.
Although it looks similar to the hybrid case, the rugged case offers extra protection with a TPU shell inbuilt within them. They are quite safe and can resist even substantial damages or falls.
What is the standard MOQ requirement?
Most phone cover manufacturers set their MOQs on the same basis as other factories in the industry. As such, you must request your supplier to confirm multiple MOQs:
• MOQ per order (e.g. 1000 pcs)
• MOQ per product or design (e.g. 500 pcs)
• MOQ per material and color(e.g. 250 pcs)
• MOQ per size (e.g. 50 pcs)
Where can I find phone cover suppliers?
Here are some of the most popular (and secure) platforms for connecting US-based importers with Chinese shoe manufacturers:
• Alibaba: Alibaba has a large number of manufacturers available on their platform with products ranging from heavy machinery to accessories and shoes.
• DHgate: DHgate is similar to Alibaba and you will find most shoe manufacturers in both places. We recommend DHgate as a second platform to try if you can't find any on Alibaba, as they do tend to have slightly more variety in their offering.
• Made-In-China: Made-In-China is similar to Alibaba and DHgate, with the key difference that 80% of their traffic comes from the Western market (US and EU buyers), while the other two get 80% traffic domestically (Chinese buyers). Their product offering is not that large, but if you do find options that interest you, the manufacturers are more likely suited for importing to the USA.
Step 2. Regulations
Customs documents vary depending on what phone cases you’re shipping and what country you’re exporting them to.
California Proposition 65
California’s Proposition 65 is intended to help Californians make informed decisions about protecting themselves from chemicals that could cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
Currently, the act has listed more than 800 harmful chemicals that could be found in consumer products, including phone cases.
Examples of restricted substances
California Proposition 65 Lab testing
It is necessary that phone case importers conduct lab testing on their products according to the requirements of the proposition. Accredited third-party lab testing companies generally offer complete and integrated chemical testing services.
Here is a list of companies that offer California Proposition 65 lab testing services.
The cost of California Proposition 65 lab-testing reports is generally $200 per material and color.
Testing is not mandatory for complying with California Proposition 65. You can either choose to attach a warning label to your product or packaging or verify that your phone case products don’t contain any restricted substances above the limits set by the proposition, via a lab test.
Not all materials (e.g. plastics and aluminum) used to make phone cases are CA Prop 65 compliant. Further, print inks, paints, platings, and coatings may also be non-compliant.
It’s therefore important to instruct your supplier to only use compliant materials, spray paints, coatings, platings or print inks.
Children’s Phone Cases: CPSIA
All children’s products targeted to children below 12 years old, sold in the US market are subject to the regulations of CPSIA, which include phone cases for children. Here is a general overview of CPSIA requirements.
CPSIA requires that all the phone case products manufactured, imported and sold in the US market must be fully compliant with the applicable ASTM standards, such as ASTM F963.
• Heavy materials and chemicals restrictions
• Physical/mechanical properties
You can learn more about relevant ASTM standards and rules on this page.
If you want to make sure that your products are compliant with the CPSIA standards or other applicable federal/state regulations, the best way is to send your phone case samples to a CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) approved lab-testing company.
You must take the sample that the laboratory tests from the production run of the exact product you are importing, not a test report valid for any similar product.
List of CPSC approved testing companies
CPSIA Testing Costs
The cost of CPSIA lab testing starts from around $300 per product. However, the final cost is determined by the number of products, applicable standards, materials, and colors.
Children’s Product Certificate (CPC)
The CPC certifies that a children’s product is compliant with the applicable safety regulations in the US. If you are importing phone cases that are specifically designed for children, it is mandatory for you to enclose a CPC with your product.
Here is a list of information you should consider including in your CPC:
1. Product name and description (e.g. Plastic Phone Case)
2. List of applied and mandatory ASTM and CPSC standards (e.g ASTM F963)
3. Importer information (name, address, email, phone)
4. Contact information of the person with access to the test report (name, address, email, phone)
5. Manufacturing location (city, province, country) and date (month, year)
6. Testing date (month, year) and location (city, province, country)
7. CPSC accepted third-party lab testing company (company, contact person, address, phone, email)
CPSIA Tracking Label
Children’s products that are specifically for use by children ages 12 or younger are required by CPSIA to carry a distinguishing permanent mark, typically known as “Tracking Label”. The tracking label should be affixed to the product and the packaging.
Include in your tracking label:
• Importer company name
• Production location
• Production date
• Batch number
• Phone Cases Online LLC
• Production Location: Shenzhen, China
• Production Date: July 2021
• Batch Number: ABC34-0909877-SZ3-CN
• Physical/mechanical properties
Importers should self-prepare all the tracking labels. It is less common for suppliers to provide tracking labels. The tracking label should be a print-ready version of the document with all the required information:
• Print position
• Print type
Country of Origin
The country of origin is mandatory when selling products in the USA, including phone cases. Phone case products should contain a permanently affixed label indicating the country of origin.
• Made in China
• Made in Vietnam
• Made in USA
Leather Phone Cases
If you are importing phone cases that have a certain fraction of their surfaces made of leather, they fall under the supervision of the FTC’s 16 CFR Part 24, which regulates the labeling of leather products.
• Material content
Other than guaranteeing the compliance of the main product, importers must ensure that the packaging materials are compliant with the relevant standards.
Heavy Metals Restrictions
In the US, individual states have different statutes that set the levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury allowed in packaging materials, dyes, and printing inks.
To determine whether your packaging materials adhere to these standards, you must contact a third-party testing company such as Bureau Veritas, TUV, or QIMA and have your packaging lab-tested.
Amazon Compliance Requirements
Amazon strictly enforces mandatory US product standards and usually requires all products sold on its platform to comply with the highest possible safety standards, even above and beyond the minimum required by law, whether you are an Amazon FBA seller or not.
How does Amazon check product compliance?
Amazon can decide at its discretion to review a product for compliance, during which process it may request from you lab test reports, certificates, product photos, and invoices.
What can happen if we sell non-compliant phone cases on Amazon?
Amazon may remove any product listing if they detect anyone who is selling non-compliant products. While they usually only remove individual SKUs, they may opt to remove all your listings or suspend your account.
Hang in there!!! We're nearly done🤓
Step 3. Shipping
1. Choose Your Shipping Method
Air freight and ocean freight are the two main methods of shipping merchandise internationally. When shipping phone covers and cases from China, you want the best option for transporting your goods.
Within air freight, you have two options: express courier and traditional air freight.
•Express courier is faster (4-7 days delivery time), and it is 10-20% more expensive than traditional air freight
• Traditional air freight on the other hand is cheaper but has slightly slower delivery times (13-15 days)
• Polyester - Durable, strong, lightweight and dries quickly
Within ocean freight, you also have two options: FCL and LCL.
•FCL (Full-Container-Load) means that you ‘rent’ an entire container just for yourself. This is recommended only if you have enough merchandise to fill an entire container (upwards of 20 tons)
• LCL (Less-Than-Container-Load) means that you share a container with multiple importers. This is the preferred option for most businesses because it makes ocean freight very cheap and accessible.
2. Find The Right Freight Forwarder
The final step is to find a freight forwarder who can get your products from your factory to your warehouse quickly, cheaply and safely.
Should You Use Your Factory’s Freight Forwarder?
We propose it is not, for multiple reasons:
1. They will have higher rates than freight forwarders
2.They won't have any value-added services, such as helping you with shipping documentation, customs clearance and taxes & duties, or offering free insurance.
But there is hope! Some freight forwarders are modernizing the industry and implementing a customer-centric approach where customers benefit from many value-added services.
Don’t settle for less! A freight forwarder is ultimately a long-term business partner, and it is worth spending the time to find the right one.
If you have further questions about shipping phone covers from China to the USA, or anything else, feel free to shoot us a message.
Local Digital Marketing manager and content creator at Bookairfreight. I am someone who loves literature, but here to simplify interesting topics within the logistics industry that are easy to digest.