Blu-ray sales surge as player prices drop

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Chicago (IL) - A new report by the NPD Group indicates that Blu-ray video technology has moved "further into the mainstream." Indeed, first quarter (Q1) sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players in the US increased by 72 percent to over 400,000 units.

Meanwhile, the average selling price (ASP) for a stand-alone BD player decreased by 34 percent - from $393 in Q1 2008 to $261 in Q1 2009.
                                                    
"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."

NPD entertainment industry analyst Russ Crupnick explained that the "leading driver" of Blu-ray "purchase intent" can be attributed to recommendations from friends, family or co-workers.

"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," added Crupnick.

Sales of Blu-ray movies, which were rather slugglish during 2008, also registered a significant increase in 2009. As TG Daily previously reported, Americans purchased approximately 9 million Blu-ray titles from January through March - nearly double the 4.8 million that shipped during the first quarter of 2008.

According to Andy Parsons, US chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Assn. Promotions Committee, the higher sales are a "clear indicator that consumers really do understand the value of packaged media, and that even when times are very tough, [consumers] continue to seek out and enjoy the best possible high-definition content."