If previous reports of iTunes music store sales lulling were worrying analysts, they've got nothing to worry about now –– the iTunes store sales have more than quadrupled during the Christmas season, according to a report made by E-Commerce.
People using their iTunes gift cards and new iPod users recieved from Christmas generated so much traffic, the service was significantly slower than usual, sometimes unavailable at times. People began posting help messages on Apple's forums, complaining that the iTune store could not be visited.
Originally, the problem was unclear as people were reporting the incidents of the unavaiability of the store. It soon became clearer as the possibility of increased traffic was examined.
I think that traffic for the iTunes store is more affected than other online music stores, and there's a good reason: people buying digital music players as presents for their friends/family often are ignorant of the smaller-brand players. The iPod is so well established, it's the device that desperate parents often turn to in the situation of uncertainty of a gift they should give their teenage kid.
So, what does this mean for competitors? Well, if they want to aim for the Christmas crowd, they're going to have to start appealing for consumers other than teenagers. That means that flashy designs are not as critical as solid marketing and making people believe that this is really the best device they can buy.
I'm interested to see how the digital music player market ends up next year, when Christmas isn't a determining factor...