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Despite new iPods due this year and an abundance of portable attachment devices, the Consumer Electronics Association is claiming that the portable audio market has peaked.

After years of stunning growth, sales of portable audio products will decline in dollars this year, although unit sales will continue to increase, according to new estimates from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Sales in portable audio devices to dealers will total $6.706 billion this year, down slightly from $6.722 billion in 2006, according to CEA estimates. Unit sales, however, will jump to 62.113 million, up from 59.558 million in 2006.

Portable audio grew at a rate of 34 percent in 2006 and 119 percent in 2005. The category includes portable and headset MP3, CD and/or tape players as well as MP3 player speaker docks.

The average selling price for portables this year will decline by $5 to $108, forecasts CEA in a new report.

In home audio sales of separates and systems, CEA forecasts that the decline seen since 2004 will continue in both units and dollars. Sales will hit $2.737 billion this year, down slightly from $2.794 billion in 2006. In units, the category will hit 16.367 million in shipments to dealers, down from 17.286 million last year.

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