By Richard Menta 12/11/05
Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo announced recently that his company will sell 8 million MP3 players worldwide for 2005. With Apple expected to sell 27 million players by the end of the year that means that worldwide Creative is selling one player for every three iPods. Those are pretty impressive figures, so impressive one wonders why there is all this press saying that Creative has only a tiny sliver of the market.
Just take a look at the graphic on the left from NPD Group. According to them, Creative was in fourth place last last July with just 3.1% of the market. Apple is shown holding just under three-quarters of it. Now the NPD Group numbers are US only, which could account for some of this deviation, except that the US is the number one market for both Creative and Apple. The numbers should not be this much apart. Figures from other like reporting institutions likewise show iPod competitors in the single digits in sales.
This weekend I took a very unscientific measurement at the local Target store. Target carries several iPod competitors including models from Sony and Samsung. I had been in the store a few weeks before Thanksgiving and saw these racks full of players. When I went back again this Sunday it was clear that quite a number of non-iPod players were sold as the now half-empty racks had not been replenished. Maybe these players are not selling at iPod numbers, but they seem to be selling.
The iPod is no doubt the hottest electronic item in years, and the iPod nano is the evolution I knew digital audio portable would eventually reach (high capacity, low weight, affordable flash player). This doesn't mean that the more savvy shoppers are oblivious to the cost/feature advantages of some pretty good competing products from Archos, Creative, Toshiba, and Samsung. Hoo's numbers seem to back that up.
The 30GB iPod Video is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part I
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part Deux
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part III