According to recent point-of-sale tracking data from a leading market research company, Blu-ray disc technology is fast moving towards mainstream acceptance with dramatic increases in unit sales and consumer awareness.

According to The NPD Group report, Blu-ray players in the US grew more than 400,000 units, an increase of 72 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

In addition to this, NPD’s retail tracking service revealed that dollar sales increased 14 per cent, to reach US $107.2 million for the quarter. Consumer awareness has also grown over the past six months and now sits at 90 per cent.

“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.”

Rubin outlined that early adopters of Blu-ray are a drastically different consumer to recent buyers.

“While consumers who purchased BD players when they first came to the market were primarily concerned with having the latest technology, and not much concerned about the higher price tag, recent BD player buyers report being influenced most often by pricing, promotions and sales,” he said.

“When queried about the reasons for not purchasing BD, respondents reported that their current DVD player is ‘good enough’ and they feel the cost of hardware or software is an issue, or they simply aren’t interested in the product.”

NPD’s entertainment industry analyst, Russ Crupnick, commented that word of mouth also plays a strong role in uptake.

“The leading driver of Blu-ray purchase intent is recommendations from friends, family and co-workers,” he said.

“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 far more effective than simply viewing an advertisement or seeing it demonstrated at a retail store.”

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