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Video Hardware Sales Strong In August

August was yet another overall strong month for video hardware sales to dealers, with TV/VCR combos, VCR decks, camcorders and DVD players hitting new highs, according to figures from CEMA.

The month also saw the sale of the 40 millionth camcorder and the first decline in sales of projection TVs since January — a situation understood to be caused by product shortages and shipment delays at the factory level.

Sales of direct-view color extended the string of monthly increases to four, with a 6.5% rise to 1.89 million, putting the eight-month total at 13.5 million, up 1.4%. Based on traditional selling patterns, August color sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23 million, off slightly from the eight-month average rate of 23.4 million.

TV/VCR sales took a 37.6% August jump to 366,500. Sales on the year through August of 2.62 million were up 42.9%. The indicated annual selling rate for combos for the month was a strong 4.9 million and an improvement on the eight-month average rate of 4.6 million.

Running counter to the general trend were sales of projection TVs — which were off 11% for the month to 90,300, and left the January to August cumulative total at 650,100, up 8.9%. Despite the decline, the August annual selling rate of 1 million was off only slightly from the 1.1 million indicated for the first eight months.

VCR sales, continuing to be bolstered by giveaway retail pricing, were up 5.6% in August to 1.62 million and were up a solid 26% to 12.8 million for the eight-month period. Despite the sales record, the August annualized selling rate was a 1999 low of 19.5 million, well off from the 22.7 million rate for the full eight months.

Sales of camcorders had a 30.9% August rise to 351,000 and were up 18.6% to 2.88 million on the year so far. August’s indicated selling rate of 5 million was a moderate improvement on the eight-month average rate of 4.8 million.

DVD player sales were a solid 260,200 for the month, up 220.6% from August last year, and were up 323.3% to 1.87 million for the first eight months.

The annualized August selling rate, however, was just 3.1 million and off from the eight-month rate of 3.3 million. The DVD percentage sales gains can be expected to start moderating from now on, as September 1998 marked the rise in monthly sales into the six-figure range.