Sales of MP3 players will double this year, a study predicts.
According to Informa Media Group sales will reach more than 20 million units, and will continue to grow at an average annual rate of 45 per cent for the next six years.
Informa predicts that by 2010 total sales will have risen to 194 million units.
"The first decade of the new century is being dominated by the transition away from removable media towards digital-audio players.
"Almost limitless restrictions on track capacity as well as robustness are two key factors that will lead many consumers to move away from exchangeable media to either hard disc drive or flash memory portable players," says the Future of Portable Music report.
The report adds: "Few consumers are likely to use the full capacity of some of the larger hard disc drive players. But as consumers become more familiar with managing the storage of their music collection, the desired number of tracks held on some of the larger players is likely to grow.
"This means the portable player of the future is likely to play a greater role in music storage."