German Blu-ray market cautiously optimistic

A detailed study from market researchers GfK states that the German market for Blu-ray players is in great shape, with strong sales in the final three months of 2008.

GfK says the development of the Blu-ray Player market in Germany has been quite positive in the last three months of 2008. With average prices approaching the €300 barrier, sales figures of Blu-ray Players finally reached the 100,000 mark in December when more than 30,000 units were sold. Meanwhile, 35 different models are being sold and the number of competitors increased from 8 in September to 12 in December 2008.

Despite this positive development in the last quarter of 2008 the new format is not yet a resounding success. In December there were already more than 11 million HD-ready or Full HD TV sets on the market in Germany compared to only 110,000 Blu-ray Players. On the one hand this shows the enormous potential - on the other hand it might be an indicator that for many customers the difference in quality between Blu-ray discs and DVD does not seem enough to justify paying through the nose for a Blu-ray Player compared to a DVD Player, says GfK.

“This phenomenon is also supported by the increasing success of the ‘1080p upscaling’ functionality of DVD Players and Recorders. Already 17% of the standard DVD Players sold and even 53% of the DVD Recorders in December had the ability to upscale standard DVD signals to almost HD quality. The average price of €95 for a standard DVD Player with upscaling functionality was about €200 below the average price of a Blu-ray Player. Even DVD Recorders with an integrated Hard-Disc Drive were on average only marginally more expensive than Blu-ray Players.”

In the long run however one can expect that the undisputed qualitative advantages of the Blu-ray disc – which can especially be experienced by directly comparing SD to HD resolution – will prevail. Further declining prices, an increasing model diversity as well as increased advertising efforts (especially with regards to the ever-growing number of film titles on Blu-ray disc) should help the German Blu-ray Player market to grow further in the coming months, GfK states.