The iPod-dominated market for media and music players to double between 2005 and 2010, according to researchers at iSuppli.
New research from the company confirms that the iPod and similar devices – a category soon to include Apple’s iPhone - already comprise the fastest-growing segments of the consumer electronics industry.
iSuppli expects unit shipments will rise to 268.6 million units in 2011, expanding at an annual 13 percent growth rate from 128.7 million units in 2005. Shipments will reach 216.9 million units this year, they explained.
"A major driving factor behind this growth is the fact that PMP/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."
The analysts note a broadband-fuelled change in consumer demand - the MySpace and YouTube generation want video, as such iSuppli expects sales of multimedia devices to grow fastest than those of MP3 players.
The total number of internet households and broadband subscribers worldwide will grow to 883 million and 507 million respectively by 2011, iSuppli predicts.
The worldwide broadband digital paid video market will expand to $4.5bn in 2010, up from a meagre $300m in 2006. Meanwhile, iSuppli forecasts the broadband music market will grow to $5bn in revenue by 2010, up from $1.6bn in 2006.