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No June Swoon For Video Sales

Video hardware manufacturers and distributors closed out the first half with a strong sales-to-dealers performance in June, hitting a four-year high for the month for direct-view color, setting new June highs for TV/VCRs, projection and VCRs and an all-time monthly high for DVD players.

The month also saw a pair of major milestones passed, as on a historic basis, marketers shipped the 500 millionth direct-view color set and the 2 millionth DVD player.

Direct-view color turned in a back-to-back growth performance as June sales followed May’s 6.8% rise with a 5.7% increase to 2.01 million. The combination of two up months and a flat April, put second-quarter shipments at a record 5.26 million, up 4% from last year, and the first-half total at a five-year high 9.86 million. While that was up a scant 0.2%, it marks the first time this year that color sales were ahead of 1998 on a cumulative basis (though a decline in the first statistical week of July reversed that situation, see Video Sales Scorecard on page 16.)

Based on traditional selling patterns, June direct-view color sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23 million, almost exactly matching the rate for the full first half, but just below the 24.2 million sales rate for the second quarter.

TV/VCR sales jumped 38.3% in June to 370,700, and hit a monthly high for this year. The April-June sales total of 1.01 million was a high for any quarter and up 43.1%, while first-half sales were up 45.5% to a record for the period of 1.83 million. The indicated annualized sales rate for the month was 4.2 million, off modestly from the 4.6 million second-quarter rate and the 4.4 million pace set through the first half.

Projection TV also set June, second-quarter and first-half records. Sales for the month rose 7.9% to 85,000, for a quarterly rise of 20.1% to 234,100 and a first-half increase of 15.6% to 470,700. The June selling rate was a relatively soft 1.1 million, and below the 1.3 million rates for both the quarter and half.

VCR sales continued at a record-setting pace in June with a sold 37.5% rise to 2.07 million. The second quarter saw sales up 43.7% to 5.51 million, to lift the half by 30.4% to 9.53 million and put both at record highs for their respective periods. The month’s indicated annualized selling rate of 23.8 million was slightly higher than that of the first half, but below the 25.4 million rate for the second quarter as a whole.

Camcorder sales posted the second best June ever with a 14.9% increase from last year to 369,100. But the quarter and half sales results both set records. The former was up 21.1% to 1.24 million and the latter showed a 15.3% rise to 2.15 million. The camcorder selling rate was a sluggish 3.8 million and nearly a full million below the rates set for both the quarter and half.

DVD sales hit a new high in June with a 313.3% surge from the same 1998 month to 326,700. Even so, that growth lagged the 415.8% quarterly increase (to 1.24 million) and the 365.5% first-half rise (to 1.29 million), and lifted the historic DVD sales total to 2.15 million. Based on VCR selling patterns, June player sales were at about a 3.7 million annual rate, representing a slippage from the first-quarter average rate of 4 million, but bettering the first half’s 3.1 million rate.

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