The markets for MP3 players in China and South Korea, with nearly 80% of future purchases coming from existing owners, have matured more quickly than those in the rest of the world, according to Parks Associates' new report "Digital Music and Portable MP3 Players."

The report, which includes data from Parks Associates' multinational consumer study "Global Digital Living," finds that among online populations in China and South Korea, more than three-fourths of consumers who plan to purchase an MP3 player in the next 12 months already own one.

In contrast, among future owners in other countries, 70% in the U.K., 67% in Germany, 66% in Japan, and 58% in France do not currently have an MP3 player. U.S. intenders are equally split between owners and first-time buyers.

"The MP3 player markets in China and South Korea hit the replacement/additional purchase stage faster than the rest of the world," said Harry Wang, research analyst at Parks Associates. "Higher penetration rates and the popularity of less-expensive flash-based devices both contributed to this phenomenon."

Wang also pointed out that because of prior ownership, these owner-intenders are in general more knowledgeable than first-time buyers about new product features. They are also wealthier and more likely to engage in activities such as downloading music and listening to online radio programming.

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