September 11, 2006 at 09:10 AM EDT
The NPD Group: Rap/Hip-Hop Ringtones Rule the Market; Women and Girls Downloaded the Majority of Ringtones in July 2006

According to The NPD Group, a leading consumer and retail information company, rap/hip-hop was the leading ringtone genre among those downloading ringtones in the U.S. market in July 2006. It accounted for 23 percent of ringtone downloads. The next most popular ringtone genres were: rock (17 percent), R&B (13 percent), pop (11 percent) and alternative (8 percent).

In addition, younger consumers were more likely than others to download and use ringtones. According to NPD's ongoing monthly consumer survey, 26 percent of consumers who downloaded a ringtone in July 2006 were between the ages of 13 and 17, while 22 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24. In July 2006 women and girls downloaded more ringtones (53 percent) than men and boys did (47 percent).

"Ringtones have become very popular among consumers - especially teens and young adults who use them as personal identifiers that broadcast the type of music they want to be identified with to friends and strangers alike," according to Neil Strother, research director for mobile devices, content and services at The NPD Group.

When asked about their reasons for purchasing a ringtone, most buyers reported that it was primarily because they liked the particular song (89 percent) or artist (62 percent). Just 24 percent mentioned price as a reason for purchasing a specific ringtone, while seven percent mentioned that they did so on the recommendation of a friend or family member.

"While price plays a role in the decision whether to download, it's only a small part of the mix," Strother said. "Since younger consumers often choose clothing and other external accoutrements to help define who they are, ringtones are just another way of making a personal - and audible - mark on their environment. That's part of the reason why finding a specific song or artist is paramount among young ringtone downloaders."

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile ringtone acquisition data based on more than 75,000 online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are administered weekly to nationally representative samples, with results statistically balanced and projected to represent the population of U.S. consumers age 13 and older. For more information about NPD's offerings in this business sector, visit http://wireless.npd.com.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,400 manufacturers and retailers rely on NPD to help them better understand their customers, product categories, distribution channels and competition in order to help guide their businesses. Information from The NPD Group is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, technology distribution channel, toys and wireless. For more information, visit www.npd.com.

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