BusinessWeek Questions Apple's Global Music Player Market Share

BusinessWeekis Alex Salkever has penned a new Byte of the Apple column, and this week heis looking at Appleis global market share for music players. This look comes as Apple has claimed to have the lionis share of sales for the music player market, at least in "the biggest markets." In other words, Apple is claiming to be the leader in the US, Japan, and Western Europe, but Mr. Salkever says that the true global market, including the rest of Asia (especially China) and Latin America, puts Appleis success into perspective. From the article:

Apple officials are careful to state that theyire referring only to markets in the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe, where they believe they have good tracking data. Although no one monitors overall international numbers, most analysts have assumed Apple has well over 25% of worldwide digital-music player sales. They base that view on Appleis strength in those three key markets.

Too bad their assumption is off base: The iPodis global market share may actually fall well below the 25% mark.


According to one of those chipmakers and to industry analysts, worldwide shipments of digital-music-player chips hit about 15 million last year. An April, 2004, report from investment bank CIBC on this market estimated global sales of flash and hard-drive music players at 17 million. If thatis true, then the 1.5 million iPods sold in 2003 gives Apple 8% to 10% of the global market. In fact, SigmaTel alone sold 9 million chips specifically designed for rival digital-music players, dwarfing iPod sales.

The full article goes on to look at how Appleis sales are growing faster than the market as a whole, and other factors that will have an impact on Appleis ability to compete in the rest of the world. We recommend it as a thought-provoking read.