Walmart Keeps Up Blu-ray Push in Post-Holiday

Walmart is continuing to enhance its CE departments in early 2010 in many of its stores within the U.S., with an emphasis on selling more brand-name HD and Blu-ray products from Sony, Samsung and Magnavox, along with more typical big-box stores brands such as the current top American seller of HD panels, Vizio.

The world's largest retailer's "Blu-ray Experience Areas" in a growing number of outlets aim to team HD hardware/software units and titles into a central sales area within its larger entertainment departments. For Blu-ray proponents, Walmart's initiatives are significant since the retailer has told various media and manufacturing groups in recent months that it believes its base of cost-conscious family customers are now seriously willing to upgrade from standard DVD (and lingering VHS tape) to Blu-ray.

Walmart's pricing strategies are targeted at encouraging further Blu-ray growth, according to published reports, primarily its much-publicized holiday sales promotion of a $78 Magnavox Blu-ray player — a price point which continues in many of its stores in early January (along with higher-priced brand-name players such as a $149 unit from Sony), according to its most recent insert in Sunday newspapers on Jan. 3.

According to consultant DisplaySearch Walmart now represents about a 30-percent market share for sales of Blu-ray Disc titles, coming close to tying Best Buy, America's top overall CE retailer which had a more distinct lead in both Blu-ray players and software (titles) until recently.