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NPD: Holiday Blu-ray Player Sales Surge 44%

8 Jan, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Spurred by 34% year-over-year price cuts, sales of Blu-ray Disc players increased 44% during the winter holiday shopping season, according to new research from The NPD Group.

Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Jan. 8 said holiday consumer technology sales over the five-week period from Nov. 26 (Black Friday) through Dec. 26 topped $10.8 billion, down less than 1% from the same period in 2008.

For Blu-ray players, the average selling price was $151 dollars, which represented a 5% decline in hardware revenue generated, according to the report.

“The dynamics of the holiday season changed this year; the holiday season started before Black Friday as retailers ran Black Friday-like sales throughout November,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD. “That move may have lessened the Black Friday hype for consumers, but the increase during the final week of the season is a sign that consumers either went back out or waited it out to get the best deal."

Among other CE product categories, PCs and flash-based camcorders were the must-haves this holiday leading the way in unit growth among large categories, but, as always, total sales numbers were dependent on the success of PCs and flat-panel TVs. Together they accounted for 41% of revenue over the five week holiday period, up from 39% in 2008 and 34% in 2007.

Despite the high revenue, flat-panel TVs registered a decline in dollars of 13%, in line with their performance during most of 2009. That decline pulled down the industry overall. MP3 players, for the third year in a row, were the largest unit volume category despite increased ASPs (average selling prices) and declining unit volumes.

“Just cutting prices this year was not enough to guarantee successful sales results,” Baker said. “Flat-panel TVs had a disappointing holiday because there wasn’t enough price-cutting on the right items, while notebook PCs and camcorders offered new form factors and price points that drove enormous increases in units and revenue despite falling prices.”

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