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Video Sales Are Reported Torrid In May

The torrid video hardware sales pace set by manufacturers and distributors in April carried over with a plus into May, as direct-view color, for the first time this year, joined with the other reported products in setting new highs for the month, though most saw their annualized selling rates cool down a notch, according to figures issued by CEMA.

Sales to dealers of direct-view color TVs showed the first plus of the year in May, rising 6.8% to 1.67 million to set its first monthly record of 1999 and eclipsing the former May high of 1.56 million set last year. Through the first five months color shipments stood at 7.85 million, off a scant 1.2% from the same year-earlier period.

Based on traditional selling patterns, May color sales represented an all-time record seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25.8 million and lifted the five-month running rate to 23.2 million.

TV/VCR sales were at a May high 314,600, up a sharp 50.8%, for a five-month total of 1.46 million, up 47.5%. The indicated annualized selling rate in May was 4.7 million, off slightly from April, but above the five-month rate of 4.5 million.

Projection sales were up 13.9% to a May record 66,900, and sales on the year through May of 385,700 were up 17.4%. Projection’s May selling rate of 1.4 million was down from April’s 1.8 million, and the five-month average rate stood at 1.3 million.

VCR decks continued to confound the industry’s statistical pundits by turning in its 10th consecutive growth month with a 43.8% jump to a new May high of 1.56 million. Through the first five months deck sales totaled 7.49 million, up 29.1%. The May selling rate of 24.1 million was nearly a full 5 million units below that of April, but still exceeded the 23.2 million running rate for the first five months.

Camcorders too joined in the May record-setting with its biggest increase of the year. Sales jumped 31.5% to 416,700 and put the five-month total at 1.78 million, up 15.4%. The May selling rate for camcorders declined to 5.3 million from April’s 5.7 million, and the five-month rate stood at 4.98 million.

DVD sales hit an all-time monthly high 279,800 in May, representing a 485.2% increase from the same month last year. Five-month sales of 959,800 were up 386.5%.

Using the VCR selling pattern as a guide indicates DVD players sold at a record 4.3 million annualized rate in May for an indicated five-month running rate of just under 3 million.