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Consumers to buy 100 million Blu-ray Discs this year despite declining economy

Despite an economic recession, consumers in the United States, Western Europe and Japan are on track to buy more than 100 million Blu-ray Discs this year, according to new research from UK-based Futuresource Consulting.

According to the research firm, in the United States last year, 24 million BD discs were sold by video retailers, an increase of 320 percent from the prior year. That explosive growth will carry forward this year with forecasted BD sales reaching more than 80 million discs.

In the United States, Blu-ray players and entertainment are emerging from the early adopter stage of consumer activity and entering a more mainstream phase, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Ironically, as the economy declines, consumers will seek out more affordable alternatives to vacations and out-of-home entertainment, said Futuresource Consulting spokesperson Andy Watson. “The whole idea of a ‘staycation’ where consumers stay home and surround themselves with consumer electronics and entertainment will contribute to BD growth,” he said.

In Europe, Blu-ray Disc uptake is still in the early adopter phase with consumer video retail sales expected to reach 9 million units this year. In the UK, BD sales are their highest in Western Europe with sales of 3.5 million last year, more than 40 percent of all Blu-ray Disc sales for the region.

Although the uptake of BD in Western Europe is still at the early adopter stage, it continues to gather momentum. Consumer video retail sales reached 9 million units last year and further healthy growth is expected in 2009.

By 2012, Futuresource Consulting projects 50 percent of all video disc retail sales in the United States will be BD, and in Western Europe that figure will reach 35 percent. A factor likely to propel future BD sales will be increased home consumption of 3-D entertainment, which lends itself well to BD distribution, the firm noted.