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China and South Korea Show Mature Markets for MP3 Players

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jenny Barrett
Parks Associates

China and South Korea Show Mature Markets for MP3 Players
First-time Buyers Still Dominate Markets in Europe and Japan

Dallas, Texas October 11, 2005 — The markets for MP3 players in China and South Korea, with nearly 80% of future purchases coming from existing owners, have matured more quickly than those in the rest of the world, according to Parks Associates’ new report Digital Music and Portable MP3 Players.

The report, which includes data from Parks Associates’ multinational consumer study Global Digital Living, finds that among online populations in China and South Korea, more than three-fourths of consumers who plan to purchase an MP3 player in the next 12 months already own one. In contrast, among future owners in other countries, 70% in the U.K., 67% in Germany, 66% in Japan, and 58% in France do not currently have an MP3 player. U.S. intenders are equally split between owners and first-time buyers.

“The MP3 player markets in China and South Korea hit the replacement/additional purchase stage faster than the rest of the world,” said Harry Wang, research analyst at Parks Associates. “Higher penetration rates and the popularity of less-expensive flash-based devices both contributed to this phenomenon.”

Wang also pointed out that because of prior ownership, these owner-intenders are in general more knowledgeable than first-time buyers about new product features. They are also wealthier and more likely to engage in activities such as downloading music and listening to online radio programming.

“These findings call for different approaches in marketing to these areas,” Wang said. “In Western Europe and Japan, where first-time buyers drive the MP3 market, vendors must educate consumers and build brand awareness. In China and South Korea, vendors should work to discourage brand switching as well as offer product features that are uniquely appealing to these consumers.”

Digital Music and Portable MP3 Players analyzes the current market landscape for digital music and MP3 players, focusing on trends in music services and hardware among evolving technologies and shifting market dynamics. The report also features survey data regarding ownership and usage of MP3 players as well as consumer attitudes toward music services.

The Global Digital Living project is a study of worldwide consumer technology trends. The project surveyed Internet households in thirteen nations: France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, India, China, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For additional information on Digital Music and Portable MP3 Players or Global Digital Living, visit or contact 972-490-1113 or

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates is a market research and consulting firm focused on all product and service segments that are “digital” or provide connectivity within the home. The company’s expertise includes home networks, digital entertainment, consumer electronics, broadband and Internet services, and home systems.

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Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, multiclient studies, consumer research, workshops, and custom-tailored client solutions. Parks Associates also hosts Fall Focus and co-hosts CONNECTIONS (in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association) each year.

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