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 mln units shipped worldwide in 2004 to nearly 124 mln units in 2009.
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 mln units shipped and $114 bln in revenue in 2009.
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 CAGR of 21.5% 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 mln and $145.4 bln respectively by 2009.