Market research firm In-Stat expects demand for Flash- and hard drive-based MP3 players will more than double in the next four years. The company said in a recent report that shipments would jump from 140 million units in 2005 to 286 million by 2010.
The report is good news for Apple as the iPod-maker continues to lead the lucrative MP3 player market with approximately 50 million iPods sold to consumers.
Driving the demand will be falling price points, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, increasing Flash memory capacities, and enhanced functionality, according to In-Stat’s report.
“Apple continues to dominate the market for MP3 players, particularly in the US,” said In-Stat analyst, Stephanie Guza. “Apple competitors continue to face significant challenges, such as a constrained Flash memory supply, device and software integration, and the ‘cool factor’ associated with Apple’s iPod line of products.”
In-Stat’s research also showed that 49 percent of MP3 player owners own an Apple iPod. In addition, sales of low-end, Flash-based players were especially strong in 2005, particularly in Asian markets where some players are priced as low as $25.
As many people expect, In-Stat said hard drive-based MP3 players will continue to evolve into multimedia entertainment devices capable of audio, video, and imaging playback.