IDC Forecasts Worldwide MP3 and Other Compressed Audio Player Shipments Will Approach 26 Million in 2005

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – MARCH 28, 2001 – The market for MP3 and other compressed audio players is expanding – both in terms of vendors and the type of new, innovative devices being produced. According to IDC, worldwide compressed audio player shipments will continue to grow at a torrid pace, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 51%, from 3.3 million in 2000 to nearly 26 million in 2005. Compressed audio player shipments in the United States will follow a similar growth path, jumping to 18 million in 2005 from 2.8 million in 2000.


"The market for compressed audio players will continue to grow, and it will grow significantly beyond devices resembling the original, portable Rio-like units," said Susan Kevorkian, analyst for IDC’s Consumer Devices program. "Because of the cost and capacity constraints of flash memory, an increasing number of vendors and consumers alike are turning to cheaper alternative media to transport their music. This is opening up opportunities for more interesting and innovative products to develop. Toward the end of the forecast, alternative media devices will have a strong worldwide presence."

According to IDC, portable systems will continue to dominate the market. By 2005, this segment will comprise 61% of both U.S. and worldwide compressed audio player shipments and more than half of the worldwide market value. "New product innovations have brought exciting changes in storage capacity and functionality," said Bryan Ma, senior analyst for IDC’s Consumer Devices program. "By 2004, we expect portable hard-drive-based jukeboxes to outship basic portables. In addition, MP3 decoding capabilities are increasingly being added into traditional portable CD players, thus enabling them to outship basic portable compressed audio players in the United States by 2003."

Despite the dominance of this category, IDC believes growth in other form factors, including automotive, home networked receivers, and streaming Internet radios, will occur, although much more slowly. Sales of compressed audio players will continue to be lopsided in favor of the United States; however, non-U.S. markets will gain momentum. "The key factor to watch for in non-U.S. markets is PC penetration," Ma said.

IDC’s recently published report, MP3 Players and More: Forecast and Analysis of the Worldwide Compressed Audio Player Market, 2000-2005 (IDC #B24064), analyzes the worldwide market for compressed audio players. Forecasts for U.S. and worldwide MP3 shipments and market value are provided through 2005 by form factor and product type. Also provided is an overview of the devices currently on the market and the vendors that produce them. Various content and technology issues that relate with production and consumption of digital music are discussed. To purchase this report, contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952, extension 6787, or at

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 700 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


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