Digital video disc players (DVDs) are rapidly catching up to televisions and video cassette recorders (VCRs) in terms of household penetration of video products. According to a survey of online consumers conducted by eBrain Market Research of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the stand-alone DVD player is in 63 percent of online homes, (in terms of overall U.S. households, DVDs have a 41-percent penetration). By comparison, TVs and VCRs have a near 100-percent ownership rate with 98 and 92 percent, respectively. The eBrain survey found that DVDs also are on the path to ubiquity. The DVD market benefits from a fortunate combination of valued features, falling prices and high consumer satisfaction.
Consumers can expect the average price of players to continue to drop - from U.S. $142 in 2002 to $125 in 2003. Further, industry manufacturers and retailers expect unit sales will climb by 30 percent to 22.3 million. This year eBrain and CEA project that product sales will generate more than $2.77 billion in revenue for manufacturers, soaring $300 million from $2.4 billion in 2002.
"DVDs are among the top video products for sales and growth potential," said Sean Wargo, CEA director of industry analysis. "Consumers are choosing to buy DVD players because of the superior picture and sound. They are renting and buying DVDs in droves, prices are dropping and overall product satisfaction among owners remains extraordinarily high. In many homes we expect to see DVD players on par with, and in some cases quickly replacing, VCRs, especially among younger consumers as DVD recorders become more commonplace."
As they have done with TV sets and VCRs, consumers already are stockpiling multiple DVD players and upgrading to more sophisticated versions of the product. Some 35 percent of online DVD player owners now have more than one machine. At the same time, 22 percent of online DVD owners have at least one multiple-disc player. Among non-owning consumers, 69 percent plan to purchase a DVD player sometime in the future according to eBrain's "2003 CE Ownership and Market Potential" survey.
Picture quality is the number one reason consumers purchase a DVD player according to 81 percent of those surveyed. Sound quality ranks a strong second at 74 percent, price a close third at 73 percent and available movies on DVD discs rates fourth with 66 percent. However it is price that has the biggest influence on which particular model a consumer chooses to buy. Nearly four out of 10 (39 percent) of product owners cite price as the most important reason for their brand and model choice, followed by brand reputation at 18 percent, special features at 17 percent and quality at 13 percent.
Beyond standard DVD players, there is increasing interest in DVD hybrids and those with more features. Slightly more than one out of seven (15 percent) anticipate buying a combination DVD-VCR combination player in the next year and the figure climbs to 22 percent over the next 2 years.
DVD recorders, which are advanced DVD players that can record from a TV set or transfer video from a camcorder or VCR to a DVD disc, are starting to find their way into Americans' homes too. DVD recorders are attractive to consumers who wish to transfer VHS tapes to DVDs (25 percent), record TV shows (18 percent) and to edit or re-record home videos (11 percent). About one out of 12 (8 percent) of online DVD player households now have these recorders while, 25 percent anticipate buying a recorder in the next year, 47 percent within 2 years and 52 percent within 3 years.
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