MP3 Players to Find 56 Million Owners by 2010

By Richard Menta 7/6/05

For the last few weeks I have been trying to collect the world sales figures for the first quarter of 2005. The trouble is no one has an accurate count. We do know that 5.311 million Apple iPods sold that quarter as it's the number that Apple released to its stock holders. In these Sarbanes-Oxley times you can trust that the number it is accurate. Total numbers have proved more elusive, though, because many companies don't report sales figures. This has left research companies to estimate. Unfortunatley, they don't always agree.

I spoke with iSuppli and their Sr. Analyst for Consumer Electronics, Chris Crotty, estimates that the iPod has 56% of the market making the total world sales for the quarter of about 9.48 million units.But In-Stat reports that the iPod has only about 30% of the market while NPD Group's numbers are somewhere in the mid-60's.

Richard Menta

The nature of statistical research depends heavily of methodology, but also important is the quality of the intelligence. My point is that with the difficulties found in estimating prior sales, predictions of future sales have to be accepted with the understanding that they are only estimates. Estimates cannot predict changes in the market that can sway figures dramatically over a span of time and so are limited by the unknown.

Nonetheless, we can say for certain that MP3 player sales are increasing dramatically. The latest estimates come from Jupiter Research who predict that sales will increase in 2005 by 35% with an annual growth rate of 10% each year after that. By 2010, Jupiter says that MP3 players will find their way into the households of 56 million people.

That means big growth potential for both P2P applications as well as the pay services. The later is trying to eliminate the former to take over the market the former built and keep prices high. The latest Supreme Court ruling works in their favor, but is no guarentee. We'll see as that is one of those unknowns that can significantly affect the marketplace.

I am still trying to nail down some kind of figures for Q1 of this year, but I am afraid an accurate account will prove elusive for now.



The Sony PSP is available on Amazon

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