Apple continues to dominate the overall portable MP3 player market in the US with the 10GB iPod the number one selling device leading into the Christmas buying season, according to final numbers just released by industry intelligence group NPD Techworld.
The monthly retail numbers show the Apple US$299 10GB iPod "virtually neck and neck in terms of unit sold" with the US$140 Digitalway 128MB player for first and second place respectfully, according to company analyst Steve Baker. The US$399 20GB iPod was third, followed by the US$140 128MB iRiver player. The US$499 40GB iPod rounded out the top five best sellers.
OVERALL BEST SELLING MP3 PLAYERS FOR NOV. 2003 (by units)
- 10GB Apple iPod
- 128MB Digitalway
- 20GB Apple iPod
- 128MB iRiver
- 40GB Apple iPod
Of most interest in the overall best sellers category was the fact more expensive, high capacity players from Apple dominated the industry group with a smattering of cheaper, smaller capacity players interspersed. "This category alone tells you consumers are very much divided over what they want - cheaper players to play a small number of songs or more expensive players to house the entire library," said Baker.
In terms of unit sales for MP3 players below US$100, which are mostly flash-memory devices of 128MB or less, NPD Techworld reported the top industry leaders were iRiver, RCA, Rio, Samsung and Digitalway, in no particular order.
In the US$150 and up category of MP3 players - mostly 512MB or higher in capacity - Apple controlled 60% of the market, in terms of units sold, Baker said, with Creative Technology a distant second, followed by players from Rio, RCA and Arcos.
BEST SELLING MP3 PLAYER MAKERS OVER US$150 (by units)
- Creative Technology
Players below US$100 accounted for 40% of units sold in the overall MP3 player market, with those over US$150 accounting for 60%. Flash-based models made up one-third of all sales in November; hard drive-based models took the other two-thirds.
62% of dollars spent on MP3 players went towards those selling at US$150 or more, NPD Techworld reported. Of that amount, 80% were used to buy hard drive-based MP3 players, which Apple dominates with the iPod.
In terms of the overall MP3 market in the US, MP3 player sales are continuing to grow at a staggering rate, Baker said. "Overall market growth from November of this year to that of 2002 was 70%," he commented. Numbers recently released by Jupiter Research showed growth has almost doubled in the past year to more than 3.5 million units. Jupiter is predicting 50% growth in the MP3 player market for the next three years. By 2006, the company estimates the installed base of players will top 26 million.
Numbers from NPD Techworld only represent the United States and are final figures.