Saturday, October 4, 2008

MP3 Player Sales Observations.

I've reviewed many players in this blog. I have my favorites. America has it's own. Curious about what people are actually buying I've stumbled across some interesting sites, and here are my observations:

CNET Shopper lists the 100 best selling players as far as it knows. It is not surprising to see the new iPod Nano appear 4 times in the top 8, with positions 1 (Silver 8gb), 5 (Silver 16gb), 6 (pink 16gb), and 8 (orange 8gb). The iPod Touch takes 2nd, 4th, and 10th with it's 8gb, 16gb, and 32gb variations.

A pleasant surprise is that the hard-drive based Zune models take 3rd (120gb), 9th (80gb), and 21st (30gb) position from the top 25 while the new ipod Classic 120gb model is 20th.

The Samsung T10 is 7th, and the top selling 4gb flash based player. The Samsung P2 8gb is 13th, and the second best touchscreen player behind the iPod Touch. It is the only other touchscreen player in the top 25.
For clip-on players, it does not surprise me to see Sansa Clips at 15th (red 2gb) and 24th (black 1gb), with no iPod Shuffle in the top 50.'s best seller list is nearly the same, except that it is updated hourly. In any given hour the new iPods will show up on top, with the new Zunes and Archos being in the runners up as hard drive based models, and the Samsung P2 sneaking in there in various colors and capacities as the runner-up touchscreen flash model.

Rather than compare sales, it is more interesting to compare players by ratings. In almost every case, the new iPods will not appear anywhere near the top of a "ratings" list. I'll agree that this phenomenon may be due to their popularity, with a higher number sold creating a large pool of reviews, and a greater likelihood that dissenting buyers will feel the need to review. Still, with several players getting 5-out-of-five stars, and the iPods always getting less, it points out that buyers don't buy iPods based on the reviews.

For flash memory based Touchscreens there appears to be only two major players. Amazon rates the year-old Samsung P2 second only to the new iPod Touch. Samsung's S3, a sexy little player that only has a touch sensitive control pad, ranks third among bestselling touchscreen players in the same poll.

There is no science expressed here. The lists/polls I've linked to will change over time. What sells and what is "best" are often different things. I am impressed that the rarely-advertised Samsung players appear so high so often. Owning both a P2 and a T10 I can see their value and compare them directly to my iPods and Zunes and other players. I can also understand why the Zune does well, particularly with it's latest 3.0 firmware update. The Zune software is great, and the players are more efficient to get around on than any iPod except the Touch.

What does it all mean? There are great alternatives to the Apple products. Some people get it. Fortunately for Apple most people don't.

What do YOU think? Leave me a comment.


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