Worldwide Compressed Audio Player Shipments to Approach 207 Million by 2006, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 8, 2002 – Compressed audio players are moving into the mainstream, and are increasingly common since they push beyond the portable flash-based device category that started it all. Now, a growing array of devices are available worldwide to play back MP3, WMA and other compression formats in portable, car and home-based form factors. According to new research from IDC, MP3 Players Move into the Mainstream: Forecast and Analysis of the Worldwide Compressed Audio Player Market, 2001-2006 (IDC #26917), the worldwide market for compressed audio players will approach shipments of 207 million in 2006. This is music to the ears of those looking for opportunities in an industry that saw shipments of just 15 million in 2001.


New compressed audio devices take advantage of a variety of storage media — flash memory, recordable CD, and magnetic hard drives – and offer consumers more options regarding price, storage capacity, size, weight, and power source. "Compressed audio CD players will drive growth in all categories as consumer electronics manufacturers increasingly deploy compressed audio decoding on CD player platforms," says Susan Kevorkian, research analyst for IDC's Consumer Devices and Technologies service. "While this growth will propel the market in the short to medium term, we see longer-term growth opportunity for hardware and software providers in markets for hard drive-based jukebox devices in portable, car, and home form factors."

Key Findings:

Major consumer electronics and PC manufacturers have introduced compressed audio players, and in many cases have extended their product lines, representing strong competition for the smaller manufacturers that took an early lead in the market.

Portable compressed audio CD players lead shipment volumes in the portable device category, and out ship portable flash-based players in 2002.

The car player market is being driven by after market sales of compressed audio CD players.

Home compressed audio player shipments will exceed 26 million in the U.S. by 2006.

The category that includes DVD players, game consoles and PVRs with compressed audio playback accounts for the largest number of units shipped throughout the forecast period.

USB 2 and FireWire, technologies used for transferring files between the PC and peripheral devices such as compressed audio players, offer increasingly high transfer rates which help to encourage device adoption.

The data, analysis, and conclusions contained in MP3 Players Move into the Mainstream: Forecast and Analysis of the Worldwide Compressed Audio Player Market, 2001-2006 (IDC #26917) were created from IDC's extensive primary and secondary resources, in conjunction with input from IDC analysts representing multiple coverage areas and geographic locations. Research resources include consumer surveys; extensive interviews with hardware, software, and service vendors; and product evaluations. A variety of secondary sources were also consulted for background data and information.

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About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. 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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