Video Sales Still Marching Ahead

The Consumer Electronics Association reported last week that manufacturers' shipments of video products grew by "an incredible" 30% during March. "The strong March increase brought total first-quarter sales to 13.3 million units, a 21% increase over the first quarter of 1999. The growth in March was reflective of a larger trend of prosperity in video product sales, as all categories posted double-digit increases for both the month and year-to-date," stated the organization.

According to the CEA, the largest video category maintained its lead position by posting strong growth, as sales of analog direct-view TVs in the first quarter grew by 12% over 1999, to 5.1 million units. Meanwhile, sales of the other heavy-volume video product, the VCR, increased by 14% in the first quarter (23% in March alone), to 4.6 million units.

The figures also reveal that DVD players are continuing their "record-breaking pace" in the first quarter, as shipments reached nearly 1.2 million units, representing a 188% increase over 1999 sales in the year-to-date. The CEA projects that sales of DVD players, already the "fastest-selling consumer electronics product of all time," will surpass 6.5 million units in 2000, in only the third full year of the format's market presence. Rounding out the astonishing month were sales of analog projection TVs and camcorders, which posted increases of 38% and 24% in the quarter, respectively.

The CEA's Gary Shapiro states that "our industry is offering the consumer a tremendous variety of choices in video entertainment at an equally wide variety of price points. It is clear from the March figures that consumers' emerging interest in new digital video technologies, such as DTV and DVD, has not harmed sales of traditional analog products."