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MD, MP3 Outsell CD-Recorders, But CD-R Dollars On Top In Q1-3

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -Internet audio portables and MiniDisc decks and portables outsold their component CD-recorder counterparts through brick & mortar retailers during the first three quarters of the year, an NPD Intelect Market Tracking survey found.

CD-recorders, on the other hand, rang up more sales and profit dollars than the other two formats because of CD-R’s price premium.

For the first nine months of the year, combined units sales of the three formats hit 471,000, with MiniDisc accounting for 176,300 units sold (or 37.3 percent), followed by Internet portables at 155,800 units (or 33.1 percent). CD-R sales came in at 138,900, or 29.5 percent of the unit total.

In every month but July, MD unit volume exceeded CD-R unit volume, which lagged Internet portable volume during four of nine months.

NPD also found that unit sales of Internet portables took a dramatic upturn during the two months preceding the fourth-quarter selling season, outpacing both CD-R and MD unit volume during those two months.

During September, 28,000 Internet portables were sold through retail, or 42.5 percent of combined digital-recording-format unit sales. MD came in second with 19,800 units, or 30 percent of the total, and CD-R sales hit 18,100, or 27.5 percent of the total.

In August, the ranks were the same: Internet portables (30,800, or 46 percent); MD (21,600, or 32 percent), and CD-R/RW (15,200, or 22.5 percent).

The relative unit-volume success of MD and Internet portables is due at least in part to their lower average price points. The CD-recording format’s higher premium, however, enabled the format’s dollar volume to exceed the dollar volume of MD and Internet portables every month during the first three quarters.

The average retail price of a CD-recorder during that time was $457, almost twice that of an MD recorder’s $235 and more than double that of an Internet portable’s average $200.

As a result, CD-recorders accounted for $63.9 million in retail sales during the nine-month period, or 46.7 percent of combined sales of CD-R, MD and Internet portables. MD came next with $41.8 million, or 31 percent of total volume. Internet portables, given their lower average prices, came in third with $31.1 million in sales, or 22.7 percent of combined volume.

CD-recorders came out ahead in August and September despite the sales surge of Internet portables during those two months, NPD noted. In September, CD-recorder sales hit $8.1 million, or 45.3 percent of combined volume.

Internet portables came in a distant second with $5.1 million, or 28.5 percent of combined sales, with MD coming in a close third with $4.7 million, or 26.3 percent.

In August, CD-recorders accounted for $6.8 million in sales, or 38.2 percent of combined volume, followed by Internet portables at $6.1 million, or 34.3 percent, and MD with a $4.9 million volume, or 27.5 percent share.