DVD sales slump as downloads rise

Figures show that sales of DVD players have fallen to their lowest point in seven years.

Just 5.7 million DVD players were sold last year in the UK, according to industry analysts Mintel - the lowest annual figure since 2003.

The fall is being put down to an increase in movie downloads.

The popularity of DVD players reached its peak in 2007, when 7.3 million players and recorders were sold in the UK. By 2014, Mintel predicts sales will have dropped to around 4.5 million a year.

The trend, which may be exacerbated by developments such as the launch of an online video rental service by YouTube, could signal the beginning of the end for the players.

Sales have been buoyed a little by the launch of the high-definition Blu-Ray format, and the fact that players can now be bought for as little as £20.

But tumbling prices mean the industry is making less money. Last year the market for DVD players was worth £610 million, down from £720 million in 2005. By 2014 it will have shrunk to £475 million, Mintel predicts.