The exploding market for both hard disk drive and Flash-based portable audio players is expected to reach over 104 million units by 2009, up from 27.8 million units in 2004, reports In-Stat. Drivers for this booming market include falling prices, the availability of legitimate subscription and pay-per-download online music sites, smaller hard disk drives, and increasing Flash memory capacities.
Revenue for both HDD and Flash-based MP3 players reached approximately $4.5 billion, a remarkable increase of almost 200% over 2003. Apple is the leader in worldwide portable audio players with 30.2% of the combined HDD and Flash-based portable audio player market. Other leading vendors include Rio, iRiver and Creative. In-Stat expects that 1GB capacity or greater Flash MP3 players will represent just over 20% of all Flash-based MP3 player shipments worldwide by the end of 2005. Consumer survey data shows that the percentage of US respondents owning a digital audio player has increased from 16% in 2001 to 25% in 2005.