These little smartphone accessories were first spotted on social networking sites. Pictures: Supplied

The funky PopSocket could be the next fidget spinner, writes Marchelle Abrahams.

What are PopSockets and why are people going gaga over them?

These little smartphone accessories were first spotted on social networking sites. Celebs like Gigi Hadid and Serena Williams were showing off on Instagram with these funny looking contraptions attached to their phones while taking selfies, and obviously their followers started taking note.

The small, plastic gadget that “pops” on to the back of your phone seems to be primarily made to prevent that dreaded phone screen smash.

It is made up of three parts: a decorative disc, flexible stem, and a circular base that sticks on your phone.

According to the PopSocket website, it offers secure grip while texting or taking a selfie, and props your phone up while watching a video.

But the mind still baffles on why it's trending.

The accessory is available in a range of funky designs. And, if celebs are touting it, then it must be the next best thing, right? Oh, and from a marketing point of view, its catchy name is bang on.

Don't think South Africa has become immune to the PopSocket’s charms. Tylon Moolman, national sales manager at J&J Rewards, says the company is the exclusive importer and distributor for SA and Africa for the official brand with popsockets.co.za.

The accessory is available in a range of funky designs. 

“The brand has been in SA for at least two-and-a-half years, but there's been a substantial upswing in sales in the past 12 to 14 months,” he says.

Distributing to local stores like Sportsman's Warehouse and Bidorbuy sees them shifting up to 7 500 units a month. They are also currently in talks with big retailers like Game to supply their chains.

Moolman is also proud to admit SA is not far behind the trend curve - apparently the PopSocket was launched locally soon after its US debut.

Caught on camera

Local celebs are jumping on the bandwagon – actress Pearl Thusi was recently spotted at the South African Music Awards taking selfies with fellow attendees. Word is that Thusi and PopSockets will be doing a collaboration in future.

Word is that Thusi and PopSockets will be doing a collaboration in future.

Simple irresistible

  • Besides the trend factor, this little gadget could actually be useful.
  • Selfie extraordinaires will be pleased to know that it’s a good replacement for the frowned-upon selfie stick.
  • The phone grip expands and collapses, thanks to its accordion mechanism.
  • The adhesive pad, called PopTek, is a thin sticky-gel pad that attaches PopSockets to most devices and cases – it's reusable, and leaves no sticky residue.
  • PopSockets “pop” whenever you need a phone grip, a phone stand, a headset management system or just something to play with.
  • And here’s where the comparison to the fidget spinner comes in. There’s no real relation, except for the “something to play with” part. Independent UK writer Max Benwell says it's the same reason why fidget spinners were likened to a whole range of unrelated trends when they first became popular.

Price

Be prepared to pay anything between R150 and R200; it seems the more intricate the design, the more expensive it is. Online stores like takealot, bidorbuy and iToys stock the PopSocket, but if it’s variety you’re after, try the official SA website: popsockets.co.za.