Worldwide Blu-ray player shipments are expected to more than double between 2009 and the end of 2010, and the numbers from ABI Research forecast continued growth next year, for a total of more than 62.5 million shipments in 2011.
In North America standalone Blu-ray players are expected to reach almost 18% penetration among TV-owning households, up from just over 7% in 2009, according to the research firm.
As interesting as this estimate is, it is just part of a larger picture. According to industry analyst Mike Inouye, "The solid growth in Blu-ray player shipments highlights a trend within the wider consumer electronics market. Larger, fixed-location devices such as Blu-ray players and flat panel TVs are enjoying rapid adoption relative to many classes of small, portable devices. Specifically, portable gaming devices are leveling out, while we are seeing actual declines in shipments of portable audio players. Digital picture frames are showing only mild growth, and compact digital camera shipments are declining in North America and Japan, though they continue modest growth elsewhere."
What is behind these shifts? "In addition to price declines, the greater growth potential of TV-centric devices may be due to some of the recent exciting innovations in TV technologies: larger, flatter panels, Internet connectivity, and 3D," says Inouye. "Aside from the economic/job environment it could be that dedicated portable device markets are simply maturing, or it could be due to the greater competition they face from smartphones and other multi-function portable devices."
ABI Research believes that CE device vendors can improve their chances of success in this very competitive marketplace by, on one hand, continuing efforts to educate consumers about what they can do with the latest devices, and on the other by striving to keep the user-experience as seamless and painless as possible.