Survey: 58% of iPod owners planning another MP3 player purchase will consider Microsoft’s Zune

A new survey conducted by ABI Research has shown that many prospective MP3 player buyers—even owners of iPods—would be likely to choose Microsoft’s Zune player. 1725 teenage and adult US residents were asked whether they planned to buy an MP3 player in the next 12 months. Of those responding that they were likely to do so, 58% of those identifying themselves as existing iPod owners and 59% of those who owned other brands said they would be “somewhat likely” or “extremely likely” to choose a Microsoft Zune player over an iPod or another brand of MP3 player.

“Our conclusion,” says principal analyst Steve Wilson, “is that iPod users don’t display the same passionate loyalty to iPods that Macintosh users have historically shown for their Apple products.” Only 15% of iPod owners said they were “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to choose Zune.

So is Zune attractive enough to build anything like iPod’s massive sales record? ABI Research believes that a critical factor will be whether or not Microsoft can differentiate the Zune from competing products in some meaningful way. One differentiator, Zune’s Wi-Fi peer-to-peer sharing, which Microsoft is playing up heavily, “isn’t all that compelling, at least not now,” notes Wilson. “There’s a lot more you could do with that capability.”

But given the results of ABI Research’s survey, Apple will need to make some big announcements in 2007 if it is to maintain its edge in the industry. Says Wilson, “Apple needs a new high-end device that works really well and looks really cool, because other brands are catching up.”

The survey results are contained in ABI Research’s study, “Microsoft’s Zune”, which explores what Zune’s new features, connectivity with Xbox, and Zune Marketplace mean for Apple, for Rhapsody, or for the PlaysForSure program. It forms part of the Consumer Electronic Research Service, which also includes Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.

Methodology: data contained within this report is derived from a Web-based survey among a nationally-balanced and demographically-representative sample of 1,725 online consumers (age 18 and older). The consumer survey was conducted in October 2006. Respondents were provided a photo and description of the Microsoft Zune device before being asked about their likelihood to choose it over a competitive MP3 player.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in broadband and multimedia, RFID & contactless, M2M, wireless connectivity, mobile wireless, transportation, and emerging technologies. For information visit: http://www.abiresearch.com
“Respondents were provided a photo and description of the Microsoft Zune device before being asked about their likelihood to choose it over a competitive MP3 player.” Was the photo of the Zune shown next to an iPod or the iPod family? What exactly was the description of the Zune provided in the survey?

Related articles:
JupiterResearch: Apple’s iPod will dominate for foreseeable future; Microsoft’s Zune insignificant – October 25, 2006
Apple’s taken iPod+iTunes to an entirely different level; iPhone will be like supertrain – October 21, 2006
AP: Apple’s new iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle ‘clearly worth the wait’ – October 19, 2006
Apple announces iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, iTunes (PRODUCT) RED gift card – October 13, 2006
Apple iPod games reviewed – October 06, 2006
Mossberg: Apple’s new iPod+iTunes are ‘better products at better prices’ – October 04, 2006
The Washington Post: ‘New competitors can’t measure up to Apple’s iPod’ – September 30, 2006
Computerworld review: ‘Apple’s new iPods are better than ever’ – September 27, 2006
Review: Pac-Man for iPod – September 27, 2006
PC Magazine’s 19th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards for MP3 players: Apple iPod line – September 25, 2006
Thurrott reviews Apple’s iTunes 7: ‘the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used’ – September 22, 2006
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
CNET Editor’s Choice: Apple fifth-gen updated iPod – ‘best, most attractive iPod to date’ – September 20, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
CNET Editor’s Pick: Apple’s new 2G iPod nano – ‘sure to be top choice among wide range of users’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
What’s new in Apple’s iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Analyst Gartenberg: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts new iPod in 30GB and 80GB with Hollywood movies, games and new lower price – September 12, 2006
Apple intros new iPod nano with new aluminum design in five colors and 24-hour battery life – September 12, 2006
Apple unveils new iPod shuffle: world’s smallest digital music player – September 12, 2006

Ellen DeGeneres Show gives away Microsoft Zunes, studio audience goes berserk – October 23, 2006
More Microsoft Zune myths explored – October 20, 2006
Five more Microsoft Zune myths – October 18, 2006
Microsoft Zune intensifies chaos in Apple iPod+iTunes also-ran market – October 16, 2006
Newsweek Q&A: Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses iPod’s impact, Microsoft’s Zune, and more – October 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Ballmer: Zune device not money loser, wishes Apple’s 30GB iPod was $299 instead of $249 – October 11, 2006
Microsoft’s consumer electronics track record: long string of failures – October 11, 2006
MP3.com founder: ‘Zune will be an expensive failure for Microsoft because consumers aren’t stupid’ – October 06, 2006
Microsoft fails to secure key Zune domains – October 04, 2006
Microsoft rigs Zune with tricky pricing and proprietary money schemes – October 03, 2006
Why Microsoft’s Zune won’t kill Apple’s iPod – October 03, 2006
10 Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune myths – October 02, 2006
Analyst: Zune could lead to ‘civil war’ between Microsoft and Windows Media partners – September 29, 2006
Thurrott on Microsoft’s Zune: ‘The makings of a disaster, what the heck are these people thinking?’ – September 29, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune’s as good as dead on arrival – September 28, 2006
Microsoft sets 30GB Zune price at $249.99 – September 28, 2006
How Microsoft’s Zune can kill Apple’s iPod – September 21, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune insanity – September 21, 2006
The Microsoft Zune 1.0 dud – September 20, 2006
Microsoft’s underwhelming Zune a ‘viral DRM’ device – September 18, 2006
SanDisk teams with RealNetworks against new common foe: Microsoft Zune – September 18, 2006
Creative does Apple’s dirty work by immediately attacking Microsoft’s Zune – September 17, 2006
Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer – September 15, 2006
What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina – September 15, 2006
Crave at CNET: ‘Microsoft Zune, all the excitement that brown can bring’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune underwhelms – September 15, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft hypocrisy exposed with Zune: What ever happened to ‘choice?’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune with fake scroll wheel ‘hardly an Apple iPod killer’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever – September 14, 2006
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune an ‘underwhelming’ repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat; no threat to Apple iPod – August 30, 2006
Microsoft confirms brick-like Zune to be made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft Zune is chunky brick made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006

83 Comments

  1. The question might have been:

    Q1. Mobile phones can play MP3s, along with iPods and Zunes. Do you plan to buy an MP3 player other than iPod in the next year?

    It seems to be a manipulative survey by pooling Zunes with all other MP3 players. Ask people honestly “Do you plan to buy a Zune?”. If they don’t ask honestly, I must assume the survey is being paid for and therefore not worthy of trust.

    Competitors must be much better, cheaper or redefine the game. This is why Macintoshes are beating PCs in growth and the same goes for any other product. iPods are better, not cheaper, but redefine our uses of music-PDAs.

  2. The 58% who were seriously considering buying Zune instead of iPod were
    a) over 30
    b) not iPod owners
    c) not Mac owners
    That was not a multiple choice, by the way, unless the answer was “d) all the above”. I may be over 30 – twice – and not particularly dedicated to “cool”, but I know second-rate when I see it. Zune barely qualifies for that rating.

    It’s interesting how they have to parse the market on these things. The Zune can’t compete with the nano or the shuffle, and these make up the bulk of iPod sales, don’t they? So … they only asked about Zune vs 80GB iPod?

    Someone should sue them for misrepresenting the significance of their results.
    MW = program – what they should “get with”

  3. dogfriend

    They conducted the survey from the readership of such apple hate sites as ipodsucks macsucks and dieappledie

    Kinda pathetic that only 58% of the sight members would consider switching. I thought the number would be much higher

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. This data is completely meaningless unless we know if they would consider any other MP3 player as well. If 50-some-odd percent said they would be ‘somewhat likely’ to consider a Sansa, for example, then we could draw some conclusions, because we know how many people actually *buy* them. We don’t know how many people will actually buy a Zune because they haven’t sold a single one of ’em yet.

    -c

    MW: “their” (means something belonging to ‘them’. ‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘they are’. This is something that is no longer taught in school.)

  5. Oh wow… this is another one of those deals where you can play with facts to say anything……

    “58% of iPod owners planning another MP3 purchase will consider Zune”

    There could be a LOT of lies in that title…. such as… 58% of all iPod owners that were planning to replace their iPod with some different MP3… but not telling you that only .0001% of iPod owners actually want to replace their iPod with some other MP3…. 58% of .0001% is like 10 people :o) (or should I call them idiots)

  6. “Apple needs a new high-end device that works really well and looks really cool, because other brands are catching up.”

    Uh, Apple already has one of those. While I do believe that Apple needs to keep evolving the iPod line with occassional significant additions, they do not need a new iPod line on top of the current one. At least this person knows that the ease of use is a parameter that is important here.

    Note: I believe the iPhone is separate line, even if it has a music player functionality. I suppose that this could be a top end device if they go for 40-80 GB, but I suspect it will be flash based for size considerations. Therefore, I believe it is a distinct line.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.