Digital music player sales could grow to over 50 million units by 2008, analysts predict.

Analysts at IDC say the market could grow from the 12.5 million units shipped last year, predicting a compound growth rate of 20 per cent each year. Revenues could reach almost $58 billion by 2008.

"Apple, which has been a portable jukebox market leader since introducing the iPod in late 2001 and iPod mini in early 2004, will see new competition in the portable jukebox player market during the forecast period from vendors offering devices based on 1.0in. and smaller hard drive form factors," the analysts said.

The analysts say the portable and home CD player markets are stagnating, predicting that DVD players, gaming devices, DVRs and mobile phones that can play music will spearhead growth in the sector.

These offer "competitive substitutes" for audio playback devices.