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Retailers Reduce MP3-Player Ads

Niagara Falls, N.Y. — Retailers throttled back their advertising of MP3 players in ROP newspaper ads and newspaper inserts during the 12 months ended September 2008, but the retailers boosted Apple’s share of MP3 player ad placements during that time, IFR Monitoring found.

The share of MP3 players appearing with the Apple brand grew to 37.4 percent from the year-ago 33.9

percent. During the previous 12-month period, in contrast, Apple’s share of ads fell to 33.9 percent from 37.6 percent.

Apple’s gain came in large part at the expense of SanDisk, whose share of ad placements fell to 13.5 percent from 20.2 percent. Microsoft’s share fell to 10.9 percent from 9.8 percent. All three brands were the most frequently advertised MP3–player brands during both 12-month periods, said IFR, which tracks advertised pricing, promotion and in-store product placement by more than 2,000 retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

Frequently advertised brands that gained placement share include Sony, Coby, Samsung, and Best Buy’s Insignia brand. Creative Labs, Philips, RCA and Archos lost share in the frequency with which their MP3 players appeared in retailers’ ads.

All told, MP3 players put in 93,623 appearances in retailers’ ads during the 12 months ending last September, down 10 percent from the previous 12-month period yet still up from 91,580 during the 12 months ending September 2006, IFR found. The total number of brands advertised hit 77 in the latest period, up from 76 during the year-ago period.

The three most–advertised brands accounted for 60.7 percent of the MP3-player placements during the 12 months ending September 2008, down from the year-ago 65 percent. The share held by the 10-most advertised brands also fell, declining about 2 percentage points to 84.5 percent.

The three retailers that advertised MP3 players more often than any other retailer also posted outsize shares of MP3 ad placements, IFR found. The three most frequent advertisers during the 12 months ending September 2008 were Circuit City, Best Buy, and Fry’s, in that order, and they accounted for 57 percent of all MP3-player ad placements , up from 51 percent during the year-ago period. All three retailers gained share, as did Toys ‘R Us, Target, and RadioShack. Office Depot’s share, on the other hand, fell to 3.4 percent from 9.3 percent.

For the month of September, the most frequently advertised model was the iPod touch 16GB, which retailed at a median price of $299.99. It was followed in frequency by SanDisk’s Sansa Fuze 4GB at a median $79.99, the iPod Shuffle Clip 1GB at $49.99, and SanDisk’s Sansa Clip 2GB at $49.99.

The Apple iPod brand appeared on seven of the 10 most-frequently advertised MP3 players in September. The remaining top-10 model was the Zune 8GB.