Digital audio player sales to stay brisk

Its report forecasts the market for all portable digital audio players will register a 39.7-percent compound annual growth rate from 2002 through 2007. During that time, total portable unit shipments are expected to climb from 6.8 million in 2002 to 36 million units in 2007, according to Instat/ MDR (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

Higher capacity storage, more inexpensive semiconductor components that decrease costs and increase player options and the addition of real-time encoding will fuel the popularity of portable digital audio players.

Most growth in the portable player segment is expected to come from hard disk drive-based portables which will grow 68.4 percent annually over the forecast period. Price reductions and a larger variety of HDD-based devices along with consumers interest in using the devices to store video and even data will contribute to the growth, said Instat/MDR’s Internet access device analyst Cindy Wolf.

CD/MP3 player portables will contribute the most volume over the next five years and grow 42.7 percent annually. They currently make up the largest portion of the digital audio players sold, or about 22 percent of the 30 million CD players sold worldwide in 2003.

The number of PDAs and handhelds with digital audio will increase in the next year, and companies will offer a wider range of devices with different featuress and prices in hopes to entice consumers to make purchases in a down economy, Wolfe said.