Last month we learned that Apple passed Best Buy to become the number two retailer in the the US. Now, Apple has ascended to the top of the charts, surpassing Wal-Mart for the first time ever, according to the NPD MusicWatch Survey for January.Obviously, the January numbers are heavily influenced by the number of people buying gift certificates, but still -- people by HMV gift certificates, too. For the record, iTunes has gone from existence to dominance in a hair less than 5 years. Oh, and I'd sell any stock you've got in the record companies:
The news was announced in an e-mail sent this afternoon to some Apple employees, a copy of which was seen by Ars Technica. It includes a screenshot of an Excel file showing the top ten music retailers in the US for January 2008, and Apple is at the top of the list. The iTunes Store leads the pack with 19 percent, Wal-Mart (which includes the brick-and-mortar stores as well as its online properties) is second with 15 percent, and Best Buy is third with 13 percent. Amazon is a distant fourth at 6 percent, trailed by the likes of Borders, Circuit City, and Barnes & Noble. Rhapsody is in the tenth slot with 1 percent.
The NPD Group has been tracking a "sharp increase" in digital downloads over the past several months as physical sales dry up. According to NPD's research, 48 percent of US teens didn't buy a single CD in 2007, compared to 38 percent in 2006.