Blu-ray player sales on the rise

With Blu-ray winning the next generation DVD format war, and the format starting to go mainstream, consumer awareness and Blu-ray sales are on the rise according to a report by the NPD Group.

The report, collected via an online survey of 6,994 consumers between February 25 and March 6, states that 400,000 units of standalone Blu-ray players, not including the Playstation 3 with its built in Blu-ray support, have been sold in the first quarter of 2009. That's an increase of 72 percent over the first quarter of 2008. Furthermore, the intent to purchase a Blu-ray player has risen slightly. 6% of the responders said they would be "extremely or very likely" to buy a Blu-ray device in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded in August 2008.

While overall consumer awareness of the format in the US has reached 90% in the past six months, 58% of adults continue to report that they were still "not very familiar" with the Blu-Ray format.

NPD's entertainment industry analyst, Russ Crupnick says that "the leading driver of Blu-ray purchase intent is recommendations from friends, family or co-workers."

The report also states that consumers who purchased Blu-ray players when they first came to market were mainly concerned with having the latest technology. Recent Blu-ray player buyers report being influenced most often by pricing, promotions, and sales. When asked about the reasons for not purchasing Blu-ray, responders said that their current DVD player is "good enough."

But also contributing to the rising sales are price drops. The report states that the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-Ray player fell from $393 to $261, a 34% decrease in price. Consumers who claim that they are likely to buy in the next six months expect to pay $214 on average.

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