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NPD: Black Friday Blu-ray Disc Player Sales Up 20%

4 Dec, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Overall, consumer electronics retail sales for Black Friday declined 5.6%, a steeper drop than last year’s 4% decrease

Loss-leader pricing and related discounts contributed to a 20% increase in sales of Blu-ray Disc players during the Black Friday retail week ended Nov. 24, compared with the previous-year period, according to new data from The NPD Group.

Led by the much-touted $39 Blu-ray player at Walmart on Thanksgiving, revenue from sales of BD players during the annual retail week dropped 9% compared with the same period last year, according to Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD.

“Clearly, when you give stuff away, consumers are very willing to take it from you,” Baker said.

The analyst said the popularity of Blu-ray players underscores the devices’ ability to cater to both physical and digital media at a time when consumers access content from varied sources.

“This speaks to people trying to get content [from the Internet] onto their televisions and not necessarily getting a single device that doesn’t give them flexibility [between physical and digital media],” Baker said. “The idea that if I want to watch a Blu-ray or DVD movie, it’s there, but [if] what I really want is access to online services, I’ve got that covered, too.”

Interestingly, Baker said sales of streaming devices, which include Roku, Netgear and Apple TV and don’t play physical media, were up “a lot” as well during Black Friday.

Despite a 4% increase in unit volume, flat-panel TV revenue dropped 6% due to average retail prices falling from $367 in 2011 to $333 this year during Black Friday. A record 40% of all flat-panel unit sales came from 32-inch TVs, but with an all-time low average retail price of $194, overall revenue declined. Flat-panels 50 inches and larger experienced a unit volume increase of 65%. The real star of that segment, though, was the 60-inch and larger flat-panel TVs. Those sales increased 10 times over 2010 and accounted for 6% of all TV unit sales compared with less than 1% two years ago, according to NPD.

Notebook PCs continued their yearlong struggle as unit sales fell 10%, with sales of Apple notebooks flat and Windows notebooks down 10%. Windows 8 represented 89% of notebook sales with an average sales price of $368, and touchscreens accounted for 3% of sales priced at $668.

The Port Washington, N.Y., research firm doesn’t release actual revenue dollars and unit sales during Black Friday. CE data excluded Amazon Kindle devices, iPad, Microsoft Surface, mobile phones and video games.


About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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