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NPD: Blu-ray Disc Player Sales Rose 72% in First Quarter

6 May, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Despite the down economy, first-quarter sales of standalone Blu-ray Disc players in the United States rose 72% from the first quarter of 2008, according to The NPD Group’s latest Blu-ray Report update.

NPD Group research also shows that overall consumer awareness of the Blu-ray Disc format in the United States has reached 90% over the last six months.

“Blu-ray Disc video technology is moving further into the mainstream,” the report states.

U.S. consumers bought more than 400,000 standalone Blu-ray Disc players between Jan. 1 and March 31, spending $107.2 million, an increase of 14% from what they spent on Blu-ray Disc players in the first quarter of last year, according to NPD’s retail tracking service.

“The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format’s market opportunity,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. “Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace.”

Purchase intent for Blu-ray Disc players also is up, with 6% of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy a player in the next six months, compared to 5% who responded that way in the last report, issued in August 2008.

Even so, more than half of adults surveyed (58%) said they are still “not very familiar” with Blu-ray.

According to NPD’s retail tracking service, the average selling price for a standalone BD player during the first quarter of this year fell nearly 34% to $261 from $393 in the first quarter of 2008.

“The leading driver of Blu-ray purchase intent is recommendations from friends, family or co-workers,” said NPD’s entertainment industry analyst, Russ Crupnick. “Blu-ray’s superiority used to be difficult for many consumers to grasp, but when friends rave about it, or demonstrate Blu-ray in their homes, they are selling the benefits in a way that is far more effective than simply viewing an advertisement or seeing it demonstrated at a retail store.”

Data for NPD’s Blu-ray Report was collected through an online survey of 6,994 consumers between Feb. 25 and March 6.

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