Digital, portable music players are flying off store shelves in Germany, according to a new study. Sales in 2004 jumped 180 percent over the previous years, and market watches say the trend should continue.
MP3 players are becoming a necessity for many young people
Germans have discovered the joys of MP3 music files, and they're buying the little players like there's no tomorrow. According to the Society for Entertainment and Communications Electronics (GFU), 3.16 million MP3 players were sold in Germany in 2004, an increase of 260 percent over the year before.
Retailer and manufacturers of portable MP3 players are smiling these days, since the little players are bringing in healthy revenues. Last years, sales reached 300 million euros ($392 million), a 180 percent rise from 2003.
The mood seems likely to remain good because researchers say the market hasn't been saturated yet and more and more people are showing an interest in digital music. For 2005, market watchers are counting on some 4.5 million players being sold and another strong jump in profits.
According to one study, more than eight million Germans already have an MP3 player and another seven million are considering buying one over the next twelve months.
"I download, do you?"
The study, conducted by the newsmagazine Stern, found that around 6.6 million Germans download music files from their computer and the popularity of online music sites, such as Apple's iTunes, is growing fast. It found that almost one in three Germans already orders from online music pay-sites or can imagine using such a service in the future.
The study, which asked 2,000 Germans about their online music activities, found that young people in particular had been bitted by the digital music bug.
The most popular site was "Musicload," operated by the German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telecom. One in four people between 20 and 29 use the platform or are planning to. AOL's music download site came in second place among young people.
Overall sales of MP3 players in Germany have been helped along by the phenomenal success of Apple's iPod players. Besides helping bring US-based Apple Computer record profits -- the company's profits were 558 percent higher in the first quarter of this 2005 than they were a year earlier -- the stylish players have been a driving force towards making MP3 players known among a broad swath of the populace.
In Germany, the Berlin Zeitung newspaper is giving away an Apple iPod Shuffle with new subscriptions. The capital has also begun holding "iParties," where guests can bring their favorite music on their MP3 players with them and enjoy exactly 15 minutes of fame as a DJ.