The invincible iPod may actually start to lose some ground to Microsoft's Zune, according to a new survey by Reuters.

The survey, which polled 450 people in 16 malls in the US, showed that 35% of those who were interested in the Zune would be replacing a digital music player.

Although bloggers circulated a belief that the Zune received a lacklustre response, it actually took a 9% share of the digital music player market in its first week of sales, bumping SanDisk's Sansa player into third place. Apple still managed to hold on to a 63% share.

Seventy per cent of those polled by the Reuters research team answered that they wanted an iPod without being prompted; when giving a list of players, 80% picked an iPod, while 7% chose Zune.

Out of the 35% of those who want to replace a player and are interested in Zune, a number were already customers of Microsoft PlaysForSure systems.

Of the 450 respondents, nearly 70% said that they were likely to receive or buy a digital music player for Christmas.

Surprisingly, only 20% of those are upgrading an existing player; the rest were still not in possession of a player.