SanDisk has launched into the crowded MP3 retail market, pitting four MP3 player models against Apple's iPod.
The vendor's MP3 range will be sold through retail stores like BigW, JB-HiFi, Harvey Norman and Office Works from late April.
The flash memory card maker will use price/point pressure, music services and accessories, to face stiff competition from established players like Apple, Creative, Sony and Samsung. The range was first released to the US market at the end of 2004.
Joshua Velling, SanDisk A/NZ country manager, said poor forecasting, and supply and demand issues meant the company was not able to launch its MP3 player range into the Australian market until now.
“We launched into the US market with two MP3 products in October 2004, this was the holiday season period and we didn’t forecast on the success of the product so we had problems with meeting demand," he said. "I told the head office in the US we weren’t ready for Australia.”
The company's products range from the Sansa m200 Series priced between $100 and $220 with capacities up to 2GB, up to the e200 Series priced between $280 and $450 with capacities up to 6GB.
SanDisk had hit a new price point in the US and now owned the US$50 and US$150 dollar price range, Velling claimed.
“SanDisk will have the same aggressive price point strategy in Australia and we want to squeeze the last blood out of the stone," he said. "SanDisk is already in digital cameras, mobile phone and gaming products, so this creates a halo type of branding for our products.”
How much impact these MP3 players have on an already saturated market remains to be seen.
According to Sophie Lo market analyst, consumer digital markets at IDC, Apple had 60 percent share of the MP3 player market in Australia in 2005 with Creative in second place with 15 percent.
“SanDisk are going to face a lot of competition from Apple and 2nd tier players like Creative and Sony – look at how wide the gap between the first and second positions are already,” she said.
While Lo believed it was positive that consumers woukld have more choice, price was not the only factor taken into account when purchasing a MP3 player.
“When you think about Apple’s product it’s priced higher than Creative and Samsung, yet it is still number one," she said. "So the design of the product also comes into play.”
SanDisk flashes MP3s
By Lilia Guan on Mar 21, 2006 12:19PM