MP3 player market maturing – Ipsos Insight

A new study on MP3 players and the American market indicates that 20 per cent of those aged 12 and older now own a portable MP3 player (an increase on the 15 per cent of one year ago and the 11 per cent of 2003), with 6 per cent owning more than one portable MP3 player.

As you would expect, younger consumers are driving the growth, with over half of teenagers owning a portable MP3 Player (54 per cent), and one third of 18-34 year olds (30 per cent). In terms of gender, one quarter (24 per cent) of US males own a device compared to 16 per cent of females.

Equally unsurprising is the fact that existing CD collections continue to be the primary source of content – this typically accounts for 44 per cent – with another 6 per cent ripped from others people’s CD collections. Fee-based downloads account for 25 per cent and files-sharing downloads account for 19 per cent, states Ipsos.

The findings were released by Ipsos Insight as part of its quarterly study of digital music.

The people behind the research said it indicated a maturing market, highlighting the growing levels of multiple device ownership.

‘What is perhaps most interesting about this is that experienced portable device owners are now buying new players with a level of usage and storage capacity knowledge unseen just a few years ago,’ said Matt Kleinschmit, a VP with Ipsos Insight and author of the TEMPO study. ‘Understanding how these unique buyers are adapting specific players to different usage activities and locations will provide manufacturers and content providers alike with a compelling perspective on where the increasingly important portable media category may be heading.’

What the report also highlights is the draw of FM radio, as the single most desired element of functionality in addition to playing music. According to Ipsos, 46 per cent of teenagers and college-aged users are interested in portable FM radio and 39 per cent express interest being able to access satellite radio. Also, roughly one-third of 25 to 54 year old downloaders are interested in FM and Satellite Radio capabilities (37 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively).

Note that the survey was carried out between April 24 and May 2, with a total sample size of just 1,112.

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