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HIVE EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: DVD Makes Inroads on VHS Sales Market Share in May

28 Jun, 2001 By: Judith McCourt

DVD encroached on VHS sales in May, according to VideoScan data, with DVD unit sales accounting for more than one-third of the units consumers bought.

DVD units accounted for 37.2% of the total units sold in May, compared to 34.2% ofthe aggregate DVD units that consumers purchased in the first quarter of 2001.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, DVD players shipped to dealers were just shy of the 3.5 million-unit mark for the first five months of the year, a 70.6% increase in shipments compared to the same five-month period last year. Meanwhile, VCR shipments to dealers slipped to 5.7 million from 8.2 million, a 30.6% decline over the same five-month period.

DVD claimed more than 50% of the market share in foreign films (60.6%), horror (52.3%) and adult product (51.1%). Falling just below the halfway mark were action-adventure titles and documentaries, which both registered 49% of sales to consumers on the DVD format.

On the flip side, VHS remains solidly entrenched in the children’s market with 96.3% of May sales going to the VHS format. VHS cassettes also dominated fitness and family titles, with those genres drawing 98% and 80% of their sales from VHS, respectively.

In May, discount mass merchants such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target scooped up 57% of all units consumers purchased. Discount mass merchants’ dominance in the VHS market, where theygrabbed 69% of all VHS sales, boosted their share. These VHS goliaths sold just 38%of DVD units, where the market share is more evenly divided between the sales channels.

The segment that includes consumer electronics chains accounts for 18.3% of all units sold in May and was almost on par with discount mass merchants in DVD sales. This segment accounted for 37% of the DVD sales but just 7% of the VHS cassettes sold to consumers in May.

Specialty retailers, which include major video chains as well as independent retailers, grabbed 18.9% of total unit sales. Specialty retailers sold 16% of the VHS cassettes and 24% of the DVDs in May.

Across formats, comedies were the top sellers for the month, accounting for 21% of all units sold; 24.2% of DVD sales; and 19.5% of VHS sales. Warner Home Video’s Miss Congeniality was the top performer. The Sandra Bullock starrer was the No.1 selling DVD for the month and the No. 2 finisher for VHS.

Action-adventures accounted for 18.8% of May sales. USA Home Entertainment’s Vertical Limit led the way in DVD sales, finishing fifth on the DVD chart for the month, while Paramount’sMission: Impossible 2 was the best VHS performer for the genre.

Despite the children’s genre claiming just 8.6% of May sales, Buena Vista HomeEntertainment’s The Emperor’s New Groove was the top VHS seller for the month.

Warner Home Video laid a solid claim to the market share sweepstakes in May, grabbing 24.4% of all unit sales, substantially ahead of its next closest competitor, Buena Vista HomeEntertainment, with 18.7%. Leading Warner to victory was its strong showing in the DVDarena, where it sold 30.5% of all DVDs consumers purchased. Warner also took 20.8% of VHS sales for the month. Warner’s total May sales are almost evenly divided between VHS andDVD.

While Buena Vista finished in the overall No. 2 spot for the month, it was No. 1 in the VHS category. VHS sales accounted for more than 75% of Buena Vista’s total unit sales in May.

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