According to IDC, the portable compressed audio (MP3) player market continues
to surge, led by the portable flash player category which is expected to grow
from 26.4 million units shipped worldwide in 2004 to nearly 124 million units in
2009. Growth in the portable flash player category is expected to be fueled by
falling flash memory costs, vendor adoption of flash for multiple device storage
capacities at competitive retail price points, availability of paid online media
services, and growing consumer awareness of and demand for portable MP3 players.
However, music-enabled mobile phones are expected to inhibit the portable MP3
player market somewhat during the forecast period and the extent of this trend
will vary by world region.
IDC segments the compressed audio player market into four major categories:
portable, home and automotive audio-focused devices, and a fourth
"other" category of devices that support compressed audio as a
secondary feature (such as DVD players, mobile phones, and gaming devices).
These categories are developing at different rates with distinct market forces
influencing each one. The 'other' category, which includes devices that are
competitive substitutes for audio-only portable, home and automotive players,
will lead the compressed audio player market throughout and beyond the forecast
period, and worldwide is expected to exceed 700 million units shipped and $114
billion in revenue in 2009.
"Demand for portable MP3 players is booming, as more and more consumers
get acquainted with their stylish form factors and digital audio
functionality", said Susan Kevorkian, Program Manager, Consumer Markets-
Audio at IDC. "In addition, DVD players, mobile phones and gaming devices
that play back compressed audio will be key drivers of the compressed audio
player market during the forecast period."