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Portable Entertainment Device Market Growth Predicted

Early Adopters, or “Tech Enthusiasts” as they are called, outspent the general public significantly this year on portable entertainment devices, spending an average of $704 versus just $421 for the average American adult, according to research released today from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CNET ( The joint study, CEA / CNET Tech First Panel: The Early Adopter and Portable Entertainment Devices, looked specifically at the Online Enthusiast/Early Adopter as an indicator of tomorrow’s mainstream consumer.

“We can learn a great deal about market potential among the general public by understanding the current desires and buying patterns of Tech Enthusiasts, who lead the curve in terms of adoption of high tech products,” says Steve Koenig, CEA’s senior manager of industry analysis. “The results of this study tell us to expect a great deal of growth among the general public in the area of portable entertainment devices, specifically the MP3 player and laptop markets.”

Over half of the Tech Enthusiasts studied own a portable MP3 player, versus just 20 percent of adults. Further, 91 percent own a wireless phone, 72 percent own a laptop and 46 percent own a PDA. This group owns an average of 2.3 separate portable devices that can access entertainment content.

While those studied primarily use their devices to listen to music, they are significantly more likely than members of the general public to find other uses for their devices such as listening to audio books, viewing digital photos and downloading podcasts. Fully three-quarters of Tech Enthusiasts expect to purchase content specifically for their portable digital media devices in the next year. These results likely foreshadow increased adoption of these activities among the general public.

“It is evident that there is a growing demand for portable entertainment devices,” said Claudia Haase, senior manager of research for CNET. “Digital media devices have been one of our most popular categories on CNET for years, and we continue to see significant interest in this space from our users. Our user panel provides us with the inside track that helps us forecast trends and the next “big thing” for consumers interested in tech.”

The most common complaints from the Tech First panelists were battery life and the type of files that can be used. Like most consumers, they’d also like to see lower prices for digital media files in the future. In addition, they expressed concerns about the selection of digital media available in the marketplace, with more than half saying they would like to see a broader variety of digital music content available for purchase in the future. The issue of interoperability was also among the items that tech enthusiasts said they would like to see addressed.

“Interoperability, both in the home and in vehicles, represents the best opportunity for makers of the digital audio and video players and accessories to expand their market share by fulfilling a current gap,” says Koenig.

CNET, the place people go for the latest in tech and consumer electronics, and a property of CNET Networks, Inc., and the CEA, the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry, formed a research partnership last year to gain insights into the future of many consumer electronics technologies. The CEA / CNET Tech First Panel consists of U.S. adults who are among the first people to adopt a wide array of consumer technologies. The panel represents approximately 20 percent of the US adult population or 43.2 million individuals.

The CEA / CNET Tech First Panel: The Early Adopter and Portable Entertainment Devices (September 2006) study was completed in May 2006. It was designed and formulated by CNET and CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The complete study is available free to CEA member companies.

About CEA:
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $125 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry.

CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES – Defining Tomorrow’s Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

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About CNET:
CNET ( is the place consumers go to understand and compare the latest consumer electronics, computers and software to find the right choice for them. CNET provides award-winning news, lab tested product reviews, and safe and spyware-free downloads to millions of people each month. It is also home to a vibrant and active online community that participates in the site’s user opinions, forums, user-generated photos and video. With an extensive directory of more than 400,000 products and price comparisons, CNET gives consumers the most up-to-date and efficient shopping resource on the Web. At CNET, people learn and share the possibilities of a life gone digital.

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