iPod's Coolness Waning as Popularity Grows

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New report from The Diffusion Group confirms that "Cool Factor" is losing ground as primary reason for iPod adoption.

Understanding iPod®'s Dominance: A Consumer Perspective

The power of the iPod's "cool factor" in driving new purchases appears to be waning. According to "Understanding iPod®’s Dominance: A Consumer Perspective", the reasons most often cited for purchasing an iPod have more to do with the interface and brand familiarity than enhanced social status or "coolness."

Apple's dominance of the portable digital music player (DMP) market has led pundits and competitors to try and deconstruct the iPod's "special sauce" - in other words, to identify what specifically continues to make the iPod so much more successful than other MP3 players. According to Dale Gilliam III, director of primary research at The Diffusion Group, today's iPod buyer is driven more by practical considerations than the enhanced social status that may result from owning an iPod. That said, Gilliam notes significant differences when the age of the user is isolated. For example:

  •     The "cool factor" ranked third among those 15-to-24, behind quality of interface and familiarity with the brand.
  •     Among those 25-to-34, design aesthetics and quality of interface were the top two reasons for purchasing an iPod.
  •     Among those age 35-to-50, familiarity with Apple and iPod brands was the primary reason they chose an iPod.

"Apple has done an exceptional job getting the word out about its DMPs and has dominated mass-market media, said Gilliam. "By comparison, other MP3 brands appear as generic. In many cases, consumers see the iPod as one might see the brand Kleenex - as a category label, not as a brand or subcategory."

"Understanding iPod®'s Dominance: A Consumer Perspective" provides a detailed analysis of MP3 player users in general and iPod users in particular; including why they purchased the device, how they use them, and their proclivity to switch brands on their next purchase. The data featured in this report was derived from an August 2005 survey of more than 2,000 US Internet households.

About The Diffusion Group ( TDG ) –

The Diffusion Group is a strategic research and consulting firm focused on new media and digital home markets. Using a unique blend of research expertise, executive-level consultants, and hands-on technical experts, we create more than just research - we generate Intelligence in Action™. TDG is committed to providing market research and strategic consulting services based on conservative, real-world analysis and market forecasts grounded in consumer research.

For more information about The Diffusion Group, visit our website at http://www.thediffusiongroup.com.


Andy Tarczon


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Andy Tarczon
The Diffusion Group
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