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MP3 Player Market Fueled by Flash

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 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.�

Key forecast findings include:

* The maximum portable flash player capacity is expected to increase from 1GB in 2004 to reach 8GB in 2006 and 16GB by late 2007.
* Video support for music video playback is expected to drive demand for portable flash players and hard drive-based portable jukeboxes. This feature is expected to be complemented by music video downloads from paid online media services.
* The market for hard drive-based portable jukeboxes is expected to grow at a worldwide compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.5 percent during the forecast period. IDC expects this market to be inhibited by the availability of high-capacity portable flash players and average selling prices (ASPs) in excess of $200 throughout the forecast period.
* Worldwide total units and revenue for all four segments of the compressed audio player market are expected to reach 945.5 million and $145.4 billion respectively by 2009.

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