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Smartphones Heavily Decrease Sales of iPod, MP3 Players

According to research firm Mintel, sales of MP3 players have dramatically decreased this year due to the emergence of smartphones.

Sales of MP3 players dropped by almost $177 million, or 22 percent, to $613 million this year when compared to figures from 2011. Mintel believes that sales will halve again by 2017. In its "worst case" scenario, it foresees that sales of MP3 players could decrease to $40 million within five years.

The popularity of smartphones, which performs the same functions and also offers the ability to make telephone calls, connect to the internet and access apps, in recent years (especially during 2012) has diminished the need for MP3 player functionality, which makes owning an iPod unnecessary.

By the autumn of 2010, around 275 million iPods had been sold globally. However, Samuel Gee, a technology analyst at Mintel, said that the decline in MP3 sales is "unlikely to reverse".

"It is impossible to talk about the current PMP market without extensive reference to smartphones. The devices have directly contributed to the sharp decline in the value of PMP sales."

He continued on to say that MP3 players are being "steadily outshone" by affordable new technologies including smartphones. Ian Fogg, a technology analyst at research company IHS, added that smartphones are becoming as popular as the iPod once was.

Apple recently confirmed that it had sold 5.3 million iPods globally within its most recent financial quarter, representing a decrease of 19 percent when compared to the same period in 2011.

"The convenience of a smartphone is greater than an MP3 player because it is always with someone. It also provides more choice of mobile music because someone can play back their own music – as they can on a MP3 player – but they can also access other music services like Last FM or Spotify. Therefore there is a greater choice of music available."

According to figures released in October, more than one billion smartphones have been purchased globally. Consulting firm Strategy Analytics said that increasing demand for smartphones is likely to increase that figure to over two billion within the next three years.

During the third quarter of 2012, smart-connected devices (PCs, smartphones and tablets) shipped 303.6 million units.

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