May 7, 2009 / 5:20 AM / 9 years ago

Blu-ray player sales surge

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Despite the down economy, first-quarter sales of stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players in the United States rose 72 percent from the first quarter of 2008, according to the NPD Group’s latest Blu-ray Report update.

A shopper walks past a Blu-ray Disc logo at an electronic shop in Tokyo February 18, 2008. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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

“Blu-ray Disc video technology is moving further into the mainstream,” the marketing research company’s report says.

U.S. consumers bought more than 400,000 stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players between January 1 and March 31, spending $107.2 million, an increase of 14 percent 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 percent of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy a player in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded that way in the previous report, issued in August 2008.

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

According to NPD’s retail tracking service, the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-ray Disc player during the first quarter of this year fell nearly 34 percent to $261 from $393 in the first quarter of 2008.

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

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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