Apple to sell 187 million iPods every year

MP3 player market continues to boom, Apple set to profit

The portable media and MP3 player market is set to continue its booming growth, with shipments set to more than double between 2005 and 2011. That's according to researcher iSuppli who today released its forecasts for the future of the MP3 player market.

Global MP3 player shipments are set to soar to 268.6 million units by 2011, growing by 13 per cent every year. This year, player shipments are expected to rise to 216.9 million units, up 21.8 percent from 178.1 million in 2006.

This is good news for MP3 player manufacturers who might have been feeling the heat from the convergence trend which is seeing many difference devices condensed into the mobile phone handset.

With Apple's iPod still dominating the MP3 market - and 70 per cent of all Apple's sales coming from the iPod range - this is especially good news for the company, which is taking a big financial risk by launching the super expensive iPhone later this year. And, if Apple continues its domination, it will be selling 187 million iPods a year by 2011.

"A major driving factor behind this growth is the fact that MP3 players take advantage of the internet more than other consumer electronic devices, giving users the ability to quickly and easily sample, acquire and share media," said Chris Crotty, senior analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli.

"Other reasons for the rapid market expansion include the expanding catalogue of available content and component cost reductions that are making the players more affordable for consumers."

Consumer use of the internet for video is increasing rapidly. This trend will accelerate as broadband connectivity and internet usage rises during the next five years.

Because of this, personal media player (PMP) shipments will grow faster than those of music-only MP3 players during the coming years. PMPs are expected to account for more than 66 per cent of PMP/MP3 unit shipments by 2011, up from a mere 4 per cent in 2005, Crotty noted.

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