MP3 Player Ownership Driven By Teens, Youth

A new report from market research firm Ipsos finds that as many as one in five Americans aged 12 years or more now owns a portable MP3 player, and more than one in twenty own more than one.

The finding represents a one-third increase over the same figure from a year ago, when the company’s digital music survey “Tempo” found 15 percent of Americans aged 12 or older owned an MP3 player, and is nearly double the 11 percent ownership level found in the company’s 2003 survey. Males are also more likely to have ann MP3 player than females: 24 percent of U.S. males over 12 years of age own MP3 player, compared with 16 percent of femailes.

“Over the past year, the portable MP3 market has really matured, and we are now seeing not just new buyers entering this market, but also growing levels of multiple device ownership indicative of overall category satisfaction and habitualized behavior,” said Matt Kleinschmit, a Vice President with Ipsos Insight and author of the TEMPO study. “What is perhaps most interesting about this is that experienced portable device owners are now buying new players with a level of usage and storage capacity knowledge unseen just a few years ago. Understanding how these unique buyers are adapting specific players to different usage activities and locations will provide manufacturers and content providers alike with a compelling perspective on where the increasingly important portable media category may be heading.”

In results which can’t be at all astonishing to Apple, Sony, Creative, and the scads of other manufacturers touting portable digital music players, Ipsos finds that younger Americans are driving the market growth, with over half (54 percent) of U.S. teens now owning an MP3 player, along with 30 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds. And while older Americans are less likely to own a portable MP3 player, some 13 percent of 35 to 54 year olds report they’ve got one to tote around.

The Ipsos survey also found that nearly half of music downloaders own a portable MP3 player, and these owners use their devices an average of 12 hours per week. (Where do they find the time? I don’t think I even sleep 12 hours a week!) The younger you are, the more you fill your head with tunes: Younger downloaders report using their MP3 players an average of 16 hours a week, and downloaders overall store an average of 700 songs or files on their players.

The survey also finds audio CD collections are the main source of MP3 player content, with some 44 percent of the content on MP3 players ripped from owners personal CD collections, and another 6 percent ripped from others’ collections. Fee-based downloads account for 25 percent of the content, while files downloaded from file sharing services accounted for 16 percent of the MP3 players’ contents.

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