Study: HD, Blu-ray Holiday Sales Season Could be Rough

A fresh study predicts retailers of HD, Blu-ray and other consumer electronics "will be lucky to see much growth" compared to last year's fourth quarter.

"The short of it is that this holiday season—a critical one from the perspective of several key home video markets, such as Blu-ray and over-the-top set-top boxes—will underwhelm," said a new study by Forrester Research, "Video Devices Vulnerable In A Down Economy," made available to HD Notebook.

The historic 25-year average growth rate is closer to 8 percent. According to one of the report's co-authors, Forrester Principal Analyst James McQuivey, "The real story will be told inside each category as LCD [TV sets] continue to sell well, tapeless digital video cameras like Pure Digital's Flip cameras keep skyrocketing, and Blu-ray players suffer from a tremendous case of the 'I can wait and get this next year' blues."

Because of today's rocky economy and the prospects for more to come for an unforeseen period of time, the study projects "a softening" in the growth of cable customers' signing on to more expensive monthly plans that include more DVRs and home-networking media services. However, McQuivey said the current state of things could actually help the satellite industry, "as people who are thinking about jumping to triple-play [TV, broadband and phone] may wait a little longer."

The study finds that 45 percent of consumer households earn more than $50,000 annually, but account for nearly 80 percent of entertainment fees and admission spending, and more than 60 percent of audio/video equipment expenditures.

Meanwhile, the Forrester study finds that broadband "free video platforms" from broadcasters and other content providers (some of which is said to include so-called HD quality) such as, Hulu and will see viewing numbers rise by 25 percent before the end of 2008. (And, in fact, it concludes that online viewing of programs on some sites such as and "is already rising out of control.")