Video Sales Set Records For October

October was a healthy, if untypical, month for video hardware sales to
dealers, according to figures just issued by CEMA. They show VCR decks,
TV/VCRs and
DVD players all hitting new all-time monthly highs and camcorders setting a
new high for this year — feats normally achieved in September — while
projection TV
sales set a new high for the month and cumulative sales of DVD players
cracked through the 1 million level.

Additionally, the seasonally adjusted annual selling rates for all key video
products picked up from a generally sluggish September. Direct-view color
produced the
month’s only disappointment, as unit sales declined for the third
consecutive month, coming in at 2.26 million, down 4.3% from the same month
last year. But
through the first 10 months sales were still up 4.5%, totalling 18.1

Color TV’s seasonally adjusted selling rate in October was 21.2 million and
came in below the 11-month average of 22.6 million. TV/VCR sales jumped
to 389,700, erasing the previous record monthly high of 347,800 set in
September 1996. Ten-month sales of 2.57 million were up 33.8%. The October
annualized selling rate was a record 3.6 million and lifted the 10-month
running rate to 3.3 million.

Projection TV sales hit an October high 114,500 and were up 7.8%. Through
the first 10 months sales were up 15.5% to 838,000. But projection’s October
selling rate of 989,000, while improving on September, was short of the
10-month rate of 1.1 million.

Camcorder sales joined color in an October decline, But while sales dipped
7.7%, the 422,500 total was the monthly high for this year. That put
10-month sales
at 3.24 million, up 4.2%. The October camcorder selling rate was a healthy
3.9 million, and just short of the 4 million average rate for the first 10

It took a record month to do it, but the 189.1% jump in October DVD player
sales to 163,000 was more than enough to lift cumulative sales to dealers
past the
one million market. Through the first 10 months, sales were up 167% to
718,000. And that, added to the 349,500, puts the historic total at just
under 1.07 million.

Using the history of VCRs as a guide, DVD sales were at a record annualized
rate of 1.5 million in October and at 892,000 for the first 10 months. Total
sales of a million DVD players isn’t exactly out of reach, but coming up
with the needed monthly average of 140,000 sales in each of the year’s last
two months is
still a possibility.

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