NPD: Zune sees ‘10.2%’ share of music player market in Dec., no word on post-Xmas returns [UPDATED]

“Apple Inc. sold a record 21 million iPods for the holiday quarter, which helped boost the company’s revenues by 50% and accounted for sales of $3.43 billion–half of Apple’s total sales for the quarter, the company reported this week,” Emily Burg reports for MediaPost’s Marketing Daily.

Burg reports, “Stellar sales have earned the iPod a 72% share of the portable music player market, although Microsoft’s Zune is making progress. Retail research firm NPD Group report that for December, Zune represented 10.2% of all units sold.”

Full article here.
Okay, Zune’s at what NPD calls “10.2%” for December which just about accounts for early adopters, Microsoft employees, the mentally-challenged, and confused grandparents’ Christmas shopping mistakes. So, what are the Zune’s post-holiday return rates? We probably won’t hear about that issue, so we can hardly wait to see what NPD finds for Zune’s market share in January.

By the way, make that “10.2% of 30GB music players in the U.S,” as Microsoft marketing director Jason Reindorp told The Washington Post, not “10.2% of the portable music player market” as incorrectly reported by Burg above.

Oh, one more little thing: NPD does not report sales from Apple Retail Stores, the Apple Store online, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, among others. Add those retail outlets’ sales into the mix and one could reasonably assume that Apple’s iPod share is actually quite a bit larger and the Zune’s share quite a bit lower than NPD’s figures. Due to limited reporting, the actual NPD market share numbers aren’t nearly as important as the trends they show; Apple’s iPod share as measured by NPD is up 36.4% year-over-year.

Microsoft’s Zune has 10.2% of the market that NPD measures, not 10.2% of the actual portable music player market (which nobody accurately measures).

And now you know the rest of the story.

Related articles:
NPD: Apple iPod gains market share over holidays, up 36% year-over-year – January 03, 2007

The Motley Fool: Apple makes Microsoft’s Zune a paperweight – January 10, 2007
Jim Cramer: ‘Apple has a winning formula’ (also smashes Microsoft Zune with bat) – January 06, 2007
RealMoney’s Comeau predicts: ‘Microsoft will kill the first Zune media player by midyear’ – December 16, 2006
Desperation time? Microsoft Zune already being discounted by retailers – December 13, 2006
Microsoft Zune plummets to 5th place in U.S. digital media player market share with 2.1 percent – December 04, 2006
Analysts: Microsoft needs to ‘rethink’ as interest in Zune fades fast – December 01, 2006
Amazon’s bestselling MP3 players list chronicles Microsoft Zune dud – November 20, 2006
Cramer’s Mad Money: Microsoft’s Zune is pathetic; Vista may cause people to turn to Apple Mac – November 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune selling like snotcakes – November 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune incompatible with Windows Vista – November 14, 2006
Dvorak: ‘If anything is doomed to failure, it’s Microsoft’s Zune’ – November 14, 2006
Ballmer: Zune’s Wi-Fi will help Microsoft challenge Apple’s iPod+iTunes – November 14, 2006
CNN ridicules Microsoft’s Zune while gushing over Apple’s new iPod shuffle – November 14, 2006
Engadget: Microsoft’s Zune software: ‘It sucks’ – November 13, 2006
Early Microsoft Zune customer greeted with Zune ‘Installation Error’ – November 13, 2006
Zuned: What’s the ‘deal’ with Microsoft Points? – November 12, 2006
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Apple has no need to worry about Microsoft’s cumbersome, chunkier Zune – November 11, 2006
BusinessWeek: ‘By this time next year, Microsoft’s Zune will be considered a dismal failure’ – November 10, 2006
USA Today’s Baig: Microsoft Zune is no Apple iPod – November 09, 2006
Forbes: Microsoft’s Zune stinks; like ‘Microsoft Bob,’ only more embarrassing – November 09, 2006
NY Times’ Pogue: Zune should come in green to match Microsoft’s iPod envy – November 09, 2006
Mossberg: MS Zune has ‘too many compromises, missing features’ vs. ‘thin, sleek, elegant’ Apple iPod – November 09, 2006
Microsoft to pay Universal for every Zune sold – November 09, 2006
Analysts: Microsoft Zune may end up being a flop – November 08, 2006
Are 58% of iPod owners really thinking of a Zune switch? – November 08, 2006
Survey: 58% of iPod owners planning another MP3 player purchase will consider Microsoft’s Zune – November 01, 2006
Zune is from Microsoft, but Microsoft doesn’t want anybody to know about it – November 07, 2006
Microsoft Zune to be US-only, no firm plans to launch anywhere else globally – November 03, 2006
Five Microsoft Zune TV commercials – November 02, 2006
JupiterResearch: Apple’s iPod will dominate for foreseeable future; Microsoft’s Zune insignificant – October 25, 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 sell single Zune model this fall, rumors of Wi-Fi capability were greatly exaggerated – August 10, 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

72 Comments

  1. We know that Apple reported iPod sales up 50% from the year ago quarter…I would like to see some numbers on the size of the market and its overall growth rate.

    FYI: Target has lots of Zunes for sale – along with PS3s. Wii and some iPods (shuffle, nanos) were sold out.

  2. Yikes!!!

    I must admit 10% is a lot higher than what I was hoping for. True NPD might not include some figures from some channels. But still, I don’t fee comfortable with the zune getting 10% market share of anything.

  3. NDP does what they can to add value to their services, but their data can only show a trend, and not solid figures.

    As MDN points out, they do not track some major players, one of which only sells iPods (Apple Retail Stores), which makes these numbers completely erroneous.

  4. 10 % of the whole MP3 player market for the last quarter would be about 3M units. Even assuming an equal split between the 3 months that would mean M$ sold 1M units in December.

    I kinda doubt that cos they would be crowing that they made their 1M goal 6 months early.

    If they meant 10% of the HD market that would probably mean 10% of 5-10M units for the quarter or 1.6-3.3M units for December.

    At best they probably sold 0.5M, which considering what the product is is not too shabby.

    Balmer blurted out 25 % market share for higher prices (>$200) which would be over a million units for sure.

    Time will tell if M$ have a winning product. I’ll never buy one but I’m sure some people will.

  5. So Apple sold a Million iPods for the quarter with revenues at $3.43 billion. That is $3400 per iPod. One of those numbers is wrong unless a tricked out MacBook Pro came free with every iPod.

  6. missing sales stats from….
    Apple Stores
    Apple.com
    Walmart
    Amazon
    others

    therefore, this has minimal value

    (maybe should just be stated as “sales stats based on Radioshack, Circuit City, Best Buy, and Tweeters)

    AND STILL NOT THE 20-25% THAT BALMER SAYS

  7. Zune is a bust, but you already knew that. The author of the article couched his data to make it appear that the Zune is doing much better than it really is (I smell MSFT marketing dollars at work).

    The author states,”That growth is in line with Microsoft’s expectations of exceeding 1 million units in sales by June 30.” 1,000,000 units by June 30 works out to 143,000 units per month, assuming that all months are equal. They aren’t. December is a make or break month for retailers, therefore we can safely assume that December sales were double the norm. That being the case, then MSFT sold 286,000 Zunes during December. The Zune was only available for the last half of the quarter. If we extrapolate the data and give Zune full quarter results (estimated) MSFT sold 410,000 units.

    Apple sold 21,100,000 iPods for the quarter. The iPod has a 72% share. Therefore the overall market totaled 29,300,000 players sold, of which 410,000 (if the Zune had been available for the full quarter) were Zunes. That represents a Zune marketshare of 1.4% overall. For a firm with the brand and marketing muscle of MSFT, these are deplorable results, which will only go down in the face of future iPod models with iPhone platform capabilities (think touchscreen).

  8. 10% probably accounts for how many Microsoft shipped to retailers, not how many were actually sold. There are probably Zunes sitting on shelves and in warehouses that are part of that 10%. iPod retailers probably sold most of the iPods that were shipped.

    > NPD does not report sales from Apple Retail Stores, the Apple Store online, Wal-Mart, or Amazon, among others.

    How can that 10% number be taken seriously if you don’t count those retailers? What iPod retailers did they count?

  9. Based on the NPD numbers for Oct and Nov, Munster of PiperJaffray estimated 16.5m iPod sales in the quarter. He was off by almost 4.6m, or over 25%, and I’m sure he tried to factor in the Apple Store retail and online sales.

    This little example points to the amount of error there is in just relying on the NPD numbers.

Reader Feedback

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