Music Products Industry Statistics
The AMA produces each quarter, adjusted raw data from Customs, and publishes it in the Members Only area of this site. Annually an industry market report, including analysis, is published online free for members. You can enquire about the availability of current or historical industry statistics by Tel (03) 9254 1019 or Email email@example.com
2020 Industry Overview
2020 was a most unusual year for the world and the industry it goes without saying. In March we were bemoaning the fact that what had been an industry on the rise would be stopped in its tracks by an economic shutdown, particularly in Victoria. As the government stepped in with its rescue plans of JobKeeper and JobSeeker our industry saw demand rise considerably in some product segments. The import figures do not reflect this exactly because industry inventories would have been high early in the year, and as international supply was curtailed for months retailers sold whatever they could from a combination of patchy supply and their own inventories. Those with well-developed online footprints and services levels did very well by all accounts.
2020 ABS Import statistics revealed an uplift in the overall music products market with a near 2% value increase over 2019, along with a 4% drop in volume.
The Aussie dollar strengthened during 2020 from around 70 cents to the mid 75 cents by December. An Import value of well over $328million, the highest total recorded in dollar terms, may have been somewhat due to a strong figure.
Music retail on the other hand, both anecdotally, (and although not supported by this year’s import numbers), had a strong year of consumer demand and top line growth. This was supported by government stimulus and in spite of key indicators like Employment Growth, Wage Growth, Average Earnings and the Inflation rate dropping. What in March looked like a looming disaster for some, saw the opposite happen, with a surge in consumer demand for guitars, keyboards, music technology, DJ gear and other GMI occurring. Dealers in traditional and school instruments and PA experienced their biggest single downfall in sales on the other hand with schools largely closed and face to face teaching curtailed. Live music venues, churches and public places closed. If you could play with it at home, there was strong demand.
GDP fell for the first time in 26 years by 1.1%. Unemployment rose to 6.3%
2020 data shows a strong resilience in the face of what was an annus horribilus for the world and for business. The challenges were immense, and the industry shone in at first adapting to a new business model, complying with strict restrictions and capitalising on unexpected strong demand. The industry’s Import value has recovered over recent years to an all-time high of $338.6million in 2020, compared to $237m in 2014 which was a year where units were at nearly 2 million. Some of this may be due to data anomalies, but that may oversimplify the situation. An annual average value rise of 63% from $118 to $185 in those years is notable. The AUV rose by nearly 7% for the year, with the dollar figure driven by strong demand.
The 2020 results showed the keyboard struggled with supply in 2020 in the acoustic categories with expected large deliveries in early 2021. The category value dropped over 3% year on year down to $64.5 million.
Units were only down marginally, driven by drops in uprights and grand pianos – digitals and keyboard maintained their import numbers. Digitals continue to grow, up 4% in value perhaps at the expense of portable keyboards which fell nearly 2% in volume but bounced 5% in dollar terms similar to digital pianos. Digitals and keyboards were scarce at times during the last half of 2020 as supply from overseas was curtailed.
Upright piano imported were down by nearly 18%), with value down 15% as a result. It was a similar story for the volume in grand pianos, although imports of higher value units kept the dollar figure steady.
The industry will notice larger volumes of acoustic pianos beginning to arrive in early 2021.
The Brass segment maintained its high numbers of 2019 with over 11,000 instruments imported.
Average value in brass dropped 8% as the volume increased.
Woodwind numbers were softer all round but still 11% above two years prior in units and 14% above 2018 values. All the same the numbers show cause for optimism with key segments well above 2018 levels. However, the drop in units compared with 2019 would still suggest that the recorder trend.
is still downward. Orchestral strings were well down year on year rounding out a challenging year for the schools’ market.
Percussion imports were down nearly 9% in volume, the only bright light being a rise of nearly 27% in cymbals following a soft 2019. There may have been some crossovers in years here. Drum kits came off its 2018 improvement and 2019 high and the soft schools’ market may have been reflected in an 11% drop in educational percussion. Overall, though, value in the category was maintained at $13.5m import value.
Guitars were reported to be selling through in 2020 in high numbers. The overall volume imported however, in the guitar segment in 2020 was flat year-on-year. This was the case in all segments. Value was up by nearly 5% and average unit value up 6%. First half imports declined reflecting the disruption to overseas production, but this had largely been made up by the end of the year.
Last year’s rise in average value for electric guitars continued an upward path and this applied to acoustics too, up 10% on 2019 and 21% on 2018. With 166,000 units imported and perhaps 11,000 made locally for the local market, the category maintained its record number established in 2017.
The value of Guitar and bass amp imports rose 11% and average unit value a similar amount.
Overall, with 2020 demand very strong we expect to see some big numbers in 2021 as supply improves. Guitar and bass strings jumped 16% suggesting the 2019 figure was an anomaly with a big shipment straddling years.
In Electronic Instruments, Synths numbers maintained their big rise from 2018 to 2019 (20%) and reported around 9,500 units once again in 2020.
The ‘Other’ segment thought to be driven by e-drums grew in units (+10%) but increased significantly in terms of value (+26%).
Turntables were flat year-on-year as was Software in unit terms. However, that segment reported an 18% in value and average unit value.
Audio & Recording marked time according to all the indicators. As reported last year, one must go back to 2008 to see $67million in import value for this segment. Speakers lead the way maintaining the import value increase of 2019 and showing a continued migration to powered speakers.
The live music sector was severely affected by the pandemic with entertainment venues largely closed during 2020. This was offset by high demand in home recording and DAW. Signal processors, mixers and microphones all maintained their 2019 levels give or take a point or two.
Traditional products dropped back a little on 2019 levels.
General Accessories, a good industry bellwether, added to an historically strong value above $26m in import value, a rise of nearly 10%.
Generally, the US market closely mirrors our own, but the retail value of the US market fell back nearly 10% in product shipped in 2020 year on year. This halted the eleventh market increase in succession after the 2008 financial crisis. The US market was badly impacted by manufacturing disruption as well as overseas supply and a worried consumer market.
Things we did have in common were that particular segments did well while others were hit hard.
2019 Industry Overview
2019 saw an uplift in the overall music products market with a near 9% value increase over 2018, driven by a 9.5% increase in volume. With the currency consistent from year to year ending 2019 weaker at around 70cents against the US dollar and an Import value of well over $322million the highest total recorded in dollar terms. What appeared to be statistical anomalies in 2018 in Other Woodwind and Other Percussion perhaps proved themselves so with those segments returning to normal levels in 2019. A solid year in almost all categories and segments.
In the broad spectrum, Australian retail sales in December 2019 were below hopes and expectations. Multiple reductions in the cash rate in 2019 and federal tax cuts aimed to boost consumer expenditure did not do so with most households said to be using these extra funds to pay off debt or increase savings. The weakness was broad-based and led by discretionary areas. Music retail on the other hand, both anecdotally and supported by this year’s numbers, had a strong year of top line growth.
Led by New South Wales and Victoria, home prices made a recovery and with that some consumer confidence returned. Households were still being forced to curb spending as a result of weak income growth.
GDP growth for the year was modest at 2.8% and still largely mining sector driven but growth nonetheless and Australia could still boast a global record of 26 consecutive years of growth. Increasingly the population is asking where that is ending up as wages growth remains south of the GDP number and has done for some years now.
In 2014 our industry had started the long climb back from the lows of 2012/13. When we compare 2019 to the trends of the previous 5 years, we are looking back at a period of re-build following an economic slowdown and an industry re-organising after a major disruption. The 2019 data shows that we are now nearly back at 2014 levels in volume terms (around 2million units) at over 1.8million and import value has recovered to an all-time high of $332.6million, compared to $237m in 2014. Some of this may be due to data anomalies, but that may over-simplify the situation. An annual average value rise of 47% from $118 to $173 is notable. The AUV did stay almost steady this year, with the dollar figure driven by strong demand.
The 2019 results show another strong performance of the Keyboard category. The category value rose by another 6% to over $66 million. Units dropped nearly 4% driven by a fall in low value portable numbers.
Digitals continue to grow, perhaps at the expense of portable keyboards which fell 9% in volume and over 12% in dollar terms suggesting less leakage from digital pianos after the industry’s focus on correct coding a couple of years back. Digitals were up by 6% in units with the average unit value rising by nearly 5%. Upright piano numbers were down by over 400 units (nearly 9%), but the dollars were up by nearly 6% to nearly $20million. A good result indicating good demand in higher value instruments. The Upright drop in units imported was offset by a big jump in grand numbers year-on-year (of over 25%). Completing a very robust picture was a rise of 8% in value. Average unit value dropped by 14% with consumers preferring the lower price pointed new product to second-hand with those numbers showing no signs of recovery from the reduced numbers of 2018.
The Brass segment was back to a point of two & three years ago when 10,000 instruments were imported. While maintaining a decent average value in brass imports the 14% in extra units imported earned $6.8million. An 11% rise year on year and 14% over 2017!
Woodwind numbers bounced back strongly suggesting last year’s numbers contained some shipment cross overs and anomalies. All the same the numbers show cause for optimism with key segments back above 2017 levels and an 18% rise in value. However the drop in units comparing 2017 with 2019 would still suggest that the recorder trend is still downward. Orchestral strings were steady year on year rounding up a good year for what constitutes a big chunk of the schools’ market.
Percussion was up strongly on the 2018 year after a soft 2017. Drum kits are on fire and have recovered with a 50% jump in both value and units from 2017 and up 23% and 9% respectively year on year. Individual drums down in numbers and maybe some leakage into drum kits occurs in coding, but overall, the acoustic drum result was good.
Orchestral and Other Percussion quite simply bounced back with big increases in value (19%) and units (12.5%). Cymbals were interesting; a 39% jump in value on the back of 9% less units.
Guitars went nice and steady gangbusters! The overall volume in the guitar segment up 12% in 2019 and value likewise was up by 12% and average unit value consistent with last year. The Guitar category should be pleased with the 2019 result.
Electric guitars were up over 20% in units and value in units imported and up nearly 19% in dollars. Last year’s rise in average value continued an upward path and this applied across the category with acoustics up 11% on 2018 and 40% on 2017. With 166,000 units imported and perhaps 10,000 made locally, numbers were back above the record posted in 2017.
The value of Guitar and bass amp imports was steady with a big fall in average unit value from the past two years.
Overall, the electric guitar market bounced back breaking a downward trend of recent years and the other segments posted good results with the value of the guitar market bouncing back 20% when compared to 2017.
In Electronic Instruments we observe another big increase in Synths in 2019, (+20%) while the ‘Other’ segment thought to be driven by e-drums grew in units (+5%) but increased in terms of value (+10%). Turntables showed a decrease in units in 2019 of nearly 10% and Software posted a whopping 34% increase in value on the back of the same increase in average unit value.
Audio & Recording jumped 10% in value and a corresponding 7% in units over 2018. You must go back to 2008 to see $66million in import value for this segment. Speakers leading the way with a 23% import value increase showing a continued migration to powered speakers one would think as self-contained amps dipped in units (-5%) and value (15%). An adjustment from last year’s figures it appears. It was more than made up for by solid increases in signal processors, mixers and microphones.
Traditional products had a good year in terms of value with a 5% rise in 2019, on the back of a steady average import value and a 15% increase in units.
General Accessories, a good industry bellwether, was down a bit after a big jump in 2018, but still at an historically strong value above $24m in import value.
The continuing decline in international online sales would reflect the perceived ‘threat’ to the industry diminishing somewhat, especially with the way the exchange rate finished the year at around 0.70c and with the introduction of a GST on low value imported goods. Our
market is extremely sensitive to international currency trends and the Aussie dollar was on a downward path by the end of the year.
The value of the music retailer to the industry is something the association is keenly interested in promoting. The industry is developing in the online sales space and buying locally is an attractive proposition we believe.
The Music Trades magazine reports that the retail value of the US market advanced nearly 4% in retail value in 2019 year on year. This marked the eleventh market increase in succession after the 2008 financial crisis.
Most categories were on the positive side, some more than others, resulting from a stronger economy, stock market and rising prices. The parallels that are often seen in the US market are apparent once again in this year’s numbers.
AMA 2018 Market Report Released to Members sees 5% Value Increase over 2017
2018 saw an uplift in the overall music products market with a 5% value increase over 2017, while it dipped nearly 8% in volume. With the currency hovering around 70cents against the US dollar a continuing rise in value has been maintained. An Import value of $296m was the highest total recorded in dollar terms, but one of the lowest totals in respect of volume in some time falling 15% when comparing the nearly 2million units that were imported in 2016. This number would appear to be mainly driven by statistical anomalies like Other Woodwind and Other Percussion, but Traditional instrument numbers are also down maybe suggesting that the Ukulele boom might be on a plateau or more expensive models are in more demand and fewer recorders being imported is still a trend.
Australian retail sales in December 2018 were below hopes and expectations. The weakness was broad-based and led by discretionary areas. Falls were led by New South Wales and Victoria, those states where home prices are currently falling the fastest. Retail sales volumes grew by just 0.1% during the December quarter. That was the second weak quarterly outcome in a row and points to the likelihood that broader household consumption was also soft late last year.
The data confirms that the strength seen in consumer spending in the first half of 2018 waned in the second. Households are being forced to curb growth in spending as a result of weak income growth, and confidence appears to have taken a battering from heightened volatility in financial markets and falling house prices.
Given Australia’s population growth currently stands at 1.6% per annum, that suggested per capita discretionary spending barely increased over the year.
GDP growth for the year was modest at 2.8% and still largely mining sector driven but growth nonetheless, and Australia can still boast a global record of 26 consecutive years of growth. Increasingly the population is asking where that growth is ending up as wages growth remains south of the GDP number and has done for some years now.
In 2014 our industry had started the long climb back from the lows of 2012/13.
So, when we compare 2019 to the trends of the previous 5 years, we are looking at back at a period of re-build following an economic slowdown and an industry re-organising after a major disruption. The 2019 data shows that we are now short of 2014 in volume terms (-15% or 313,000,000 units) but import value has recovered, up by 24% or $58 million compared to five years ago. Some of this may be due to data anomalies, but that may over-simplify the situation. An annual average value rise of 47% from $118 to $174.
The 2018 results shows the continued strong performance of the Keyboard category. Unit imports we up by 18,000 unit (+16%). At the same time category value rose by 6% to a little over $63 million.
Digitals continue to grow, as do electronic keyboards. Increases in units applied to both segments in 2018. Digitals were up by 8% in units while the average unit value again dropped by 5%. Electronic keyboards soared 21% in numbers while maintaining a good value story. Upright pianos posted a good result with over 5,200 imported and value increasing nearly 20% on the back of a rise in Annual unit value. Grand pianos held their own, unit wise, but reflected fewer high value items in 2018. Consumers seemed to be preferring the new product with second hand numbers dropping substantially in the year to December.
The Brass segment fell over 8% after a couple of decent years where 10,000 instruments were imported, and major woodwind units dropped in all segments markedly which did indicate that the timing of a big arrival will necessitate a re-balance in 2019 figures. However, the drop in units appeared to be on the back of another drop in recorder imports. Orchestral strings continued a recovery with a 9% increase in imports making 2018 one of the strongest in recent years.
Percussion did not perform well comparatively in 2018 after a soft 2017. Overall, there was a drop of 8% drop in volume with value dropping 7%. Drum kits recovered to a more usual number and Orchestral and Other Percussion posting further unit drops continuing a now decade long trend.
The overall volume in the guitar segment fell 3% in 2018 but value was up by nearly 8% and average unit value was up across the board. The Guitar category should be pleased with the 2018 result.
Electric guitars were up 13% in units imported and up nearly 19% in dollar terms. After last year’s rise in average value, 2018 AUV continued an upward path and this applied across the category with acoustics up 25% on 2017 while with 163,000 units imported, we posted our first contraction in acoustic numbers in a few years now.
Guitar and bass amp figures adjusted themselves a little in 2018 after what appeared an anomalous rise in 2017.
Overall the electric guitar market bounced back breaking a downward trend of recent years and the other segments posted good results with the value of the guitar market bouncing back somewhat on 2017.
In Electronic Instruments overall it was a flat result. We observe another increase in Synths in 2018, (+4%) while the ‘Other’ segment thought to be driven by e-drums contracted in units (-7%) but increased in terms of value (+12%). Turntables showed a decrease in units in 2018 of nearly 5% and Software posted a 18% decrease in value and 7% in volume, suggesting a re-balance from 2016.
Audio numbers revealed the opposite of 2017 with some high value mixers reported
helping to push up value by an average of 18%, with units imported
dropping by 5%. Speakers and power amps held their own volume wise but posted good increases (+6% and +17%) in value terms. Microphones were up 6% in volume reversing the drop in 2017 and were back to 2016 levels in dollar terms as well.
Traditional products had a good year in terms of value with a 14% rise in 2017, but the segment seems to have re-balanced with big drops in volume and value terms (-18% and -15%).
General Accessories, a good industry bellwether continued its recent strong performance with value up 19% and by 30% above 2016 levels. For the first time imports totalled over $25million, after cracking the $20million mark last year.
The retail sales value of Print Music was up in 2018. After several years of significant decline year-on-year, the last couple of years has seen perhaps a new normal established, with retail sales of $20m + being reported three years in a row. 2018 posted an increase of 17% in retail sales as reported by the nation’s publishers.
The continuing decline in international online sales would reflect the perceived ‘threat’ to the industry diminishing somewhat, especially with the way the exchange rate finished the year at around 0.72c and with the introduction of a GST on low value imported goods. Our market is extremely sensitive to international currency trends and the Aussie dollar has found a stable norm, hovering around the early to mid-70’s for some time now. The abolishment of the Low Value Threshold on GST on July 1, 2018 further dampens the attractiveness of buying off-shore, in our view but domestic competition is keen.
The value of the music retailer to the industry is something the association is keenly interested in promoting. The industry must get better in the online sales space so that buying locally is an attractive proposition. We have aimed industry training efforts here.
The Music Trades magazine reports that the retail value of the US market advanced over 2.4% in retail value in 2018 year on year. This marked the tenth market increase in succession after the 2008 financial crisis
Most categories were on the positive side, some more than others, resulting from a stronger economy and rising prices. The parallels that are often seen in the US market are apparent once again in this year’s numbers.
Financial year June 30, 2017 Summary
Financial Year Market Summary.
The ABS import statistics reveal a financial year where the industry value grew by nearly 5% with units up by a touch over 5%. The piano and keyboards category posted strong results for the year with an overall increase of over 9% in value and similar in units. All segments performed well year on year with Digitals 8% up in units, Uprights over 10% and some big ticket items boosting Grands by 24% in their respective values. Portables were strong too with an 8% increase year on year.
School music appears strong and continued its solid results for the last three years. Both Brass and Woodwind segments were up year-on-year in value terms 13% and 6% respectively, and more marked has been a near 20% rise in brass and 16%in woodwinds over last two years.
Percussion however struggled from July – June with a lack lustre performance by both drums (flat) and cymbals with a slight value increase of 3%, but with units down over 8% and Orchestral percussion down in both value and numbers.
Electric guitars (up 11% in units and 22% in value) and basses (9% and 15%) bounced back for the first time in a few years and posted solid year-on-year results. At the same time guitar and bass amps posted a huge gain after a year in the doldrums in 2015-16 and bounced back to eclipse a good year posted in 2014-15. Acoustics posted another healthy units rise of nearly 5%, but with a much lower average unit value which dipped over 20%, the segment showed a near 18% decline in dollar terms.
Sound and Recording with Speakers, Amps and signal processors all down struggled in the financial year period as did Microphones which dipped 4% in units. General Accessories were up 3% and there was little change in guitar strings.
In the electronics category, synths continued to perform well with 11% more imports in the last financial year. Value remained flat despite this as the trend for falling costs of anything digital appeared to influence the average value. Other Electronic instruments, containing e-drums as the dominant contributor, posted an increase of nearly 12% complemented by a jump in value of over 14%. Computer software marked time this year, as did turntable imports.
The full summary document, including a 3-Year comparison summary, can be found in the Member’s Only section of the website. In the reports section.
Note: Revised digital piano and EKB figures for the last 3 years have been posted in this report. The major wholesalers contributed to a confidential survey to establish if reporting of digital piano imports to the ABS were accurate. This survey has encouraged us to adjust the figures for the last three financial years, based on the realities the survey revealed.
December 2016 Quarterly and End of Calendar Year Summary
Members can access the ABS import data and 3-year comparison summary in the members only section of the website, together with adjusted country-of-origin data.
2016 saw an uplift in the overall market with a 3.5% in value over 2015 and around 12% over two years ago. With the currency finding it’s now level in to 70’s a continuing rise in value is welcome news for most of the industry. Import value of $265m outstripping 2015 which was the best year in terms of industry value since 2009 – after which time it headed south – import values getting down to the low $200m mark. The US has largely bounced back year on year since the GFC and aftermath, and again, this is reflected in our numbers over a similar period.
The Keyboard Category posted a good result overall in 2016, and continued the upward trajectory it has been achieving over the last three or four years. A solid increase in value of 7.9%, year on year and an impressive 19% improvement on 2015, see the retail value of the keyboard segment at around $120million, adding some $20million to the market over a two year period.
Electronic keyboards were significantly up, but we suspect some crossovers to digital pianos in these numbers and grand pianos had a big December quarter in high value units – Germany, Austria and Italy – boosting import value well above recent averages. The AMA is currently interrogating the pianos and keyboards categories to compare reported imports to actual, to ensure an accurate picture is painted by this and future reports.
Band and Orchestra surprised, especially the December quarter results. Brass mostly improved – except for AUV but certainly a decent jump in volume for the year almost all of it effectively came in the December quarter similar to the 2015 experience. Major woodwind units were more or less static however. Orchestral strings were a bit soft but after a strong 2015, perhaps a rebalancing to do with timing of last year’s imports.
Percussion generally marked time in 2016, which given the drops of the last 5 years or so, is probably a positive sign.
The overall volume in the guitar segment fell 10% in 2016 and value was flat across the category.
Electric guitars posted a decline of 7% in 5-year trend terms of new guitars. A year on year drop of 23.5% in units could indeed be called a worrying slump, but the value of the segment held up. The figures showed some high value imports in the December quarter, continuing on from last quarter. This has resulted in a significant jump in AUV and the 10% rise in value of the category. It could also be an indicator that the market is maturing and the customer is too.While industry pundits expect a reversal of this unit decline in 2017 (as occurred in the US in 2016), When comparing the US results we see a an increase in electric guitars of 6.5% while value advanced 8.6%, the first such year-on-year increase in some time.
The decline extends to amplifiers over the last 2 years too which maybe explained by the many options available for guitarists to amplify their sound. Fewer electric guitar sales however, appearing to be the main cause.
Acoustics are powering on with another record year of 160,000 units imported! With a big value increase over the last two years. However, value dropped by nearly 8% – this could be a sheep in wolf’s clothing as it may indicate more entry level business in 2016. Some significant ups and downs in the guitar sector resulted in the relatively tepid performance of the category as a whole. Guitars still represent nearly 20% of the music products market.
In Electronic Instruments we observe another increase in Synths in 2016, while the ‘Other’ segment thought to be driven by e-drums slowed its growth pattern of the previous two years, Turntables showed an increase in 2016
Audio numbers revealed that some big high value mixers were reported in the last quarter helping to push up value and an AUV increase of 15%, despite units being well down for the year at the same time. The rest of the category marked time for the year, with speakers and power amps showing a reasonable increase in units followed by the usual drop in AUV – however but segments were up significantly from 2014 10% and 16% respectively.
The wireless mic replacement peak may be over. In terms of volume, the number of units has held at around 155,000 and perhaps establishing another benchmark following the peak of the replacement of radio mics in 2014 when units topped 165,000. This benchmark it must be said was better than expected.
Traditional products bounced back in 2016 from a surprise contraction in 2015, and working hard to make ground on a good 2014. As was observed last year, it felt as though a shipment was late such was the downturn, and this may have been the case given it has jumped back up. Ukuleles are accounted for in this segment and there seems to be no stopping the popularity of this most accessible instrument.
General Accessories were up in value by a significant 25% and 40% above 2014 in dollar terms. For the first time imports totaled nearly $20m. Guitar strings levelled off in 2016 after a big dollar increase in 2015 over 2014, most likely reflecting currency shifts.
Print music held its own on 2016. After several years of significant decline year-on-year, the last couple of years has seen perhaps a new normal established, with retail sales of $20m being reported two years in a row.
The continuing decline in international online, would reflect the perceived ‘threat’ to the industry diminishing somewhat, especially with the way the exchange rate finished the year at around 0.72c. Our market is extremely sensitive to international currency trends and the Aussie dollar has found a new normal at the time of writing was hovering around the mid-70’s. The trend we would hope would continue as the abolishment of the Low Value Threshold on GST on July 1, 2017 further dampens the attractiveness of buying off-shore.
The value of the music retailer to the industry is something the association is keenly interested in promoting. The industry must get better in the online sales space, so that buying locally is an attractive proposition. Our industry training efforts are aimed here. Capitalising on this current environment is important.
The Music Trades reports that the retail value of the US market was flat once again in 2016, being just marginally ahead of 2015. It’s positive note was the huge variety of products available these days, and that there has never been a better time to be a consumer of music products. The US economy is stubbornly sluggish, and market conditions again are reflected in Australia.
Like in Australia, some categories performed well others not so much. The sales value gain of just 0.8% over 2015, did not keep pace with official US economy growth rates of 2.1%, while in Australia the 3.5% dollar value exceeded our own GDP increase of 2.4% and certainly in excess of inflation which sat at 1.5%.
September 2016 quarterly Summary
In brief the September quarter out-performed the previous one with an overall 5% lift in value, although volumes dipped overall to decrease by 2.5%. A lot of the unit drop could be also attributed to modest imports of low value items like recorders, entry point electric guitars and traditional instruments helped increase Average Unit Values.
The Guitar category dipped in numbers driven by a continuing decline in electric guitars and amps, that has been following an international trend downwards for a few years now. But acoustic guitars continued to prop up another set of numbers with another 10% increase year-on-year – but not enough to arrest an overall decline of 10% in units. US and Mexican electric guitar imports represent about 60% of the segment value this quarter while Asian imports appear softer in the entry level.
The piano category was steady overall. Only digital pianos took a backward step of under 2%, with acoustics and keyboards performing quite well. Brass and wind recorded good increases in numbers and value overall. Flutes and saxophones were a bit soft, but were compensated by good increases in clarinets and brass instruments.
Drum kits continued its rally of recent quarters with a quarter-on quarter increase of 10% in volume and with AUV being up, a healthy increase of over 30% in value. Synths were stronger, but other Electronic instruments, capturing the e-drum market was a bit softer. The sound and recording category posted 5% increases in both volume and value and microphones held steady, now over the hump of the change in radio spectrum and reaching a new normal.
General accessories and guitar accessories were up.
The lower dollar coupled with fewer low value items, has settled the industry numbers and helped grow the industry’s value. A total imports figure of $260,000 in rolling data sees the value over $250,000 for the first time since 2008/9. There appeared to be more high end product coming in in a couple of categories.
2015 – 16 Financial Year Summary
The AMA’s industry statistics are in for the financial year ended 30 June 2016. The numbers show a flat result unit wise, but what is encouraging is a rise in the value of the industry over the last couple of years – in fact overall value has risen by 17% since F2014, and hopefully this has reflected in business profitability.
Keyboards overall performed reasonably well, with a 2% rise in volume and a healthy 13% + in value. Average unit values rose too. Stand outs being Grand pianos which enjoyed a resurgence and digitals maintaining their upward trend. Brass and woodwind, orchestral strings and general accessories were strong performers year-on-year. Are we enjoying a boost in school music programs?
Drum kits continued their ‘comeback’ with over 6% improvement in numbers and 20% in value. This was tempered though with fewer, though higher value individual drum units and cymbals dipped again readjusting from last year’s anomalies in the numbers. Still an improvement on FY2014.
Acoustic guitars performed well once more with another 7% rise in imports and a healthy 10% in value, but overall the Guitar category was disappointing. These numbers were at the expense of electric guitars, unfortunately, as the segment continued its downward trend. It would appear that more higher value instruments are being imported, a trend that indicates that the entry level appears to be suffering. Amplifiers followed this concerning trend also.
Electronic instruments which include synthesisers and electronic drums took its first backward step in a while with an overall 10% approximate dip in imports. The star segment being synthesisers which grew nearly 10% in imports and 24% in value.
Sound and Recording was a strong overall performer with imports up nearly 10% in the financial year. Microphones were flat having perhaps reached near normal levels after the increased numbers forced by the wireless frequency changes.
The financial year figures may reflect the timing of some products landing and a truer gauge for the 2016 year may come at December.
Members can access detailed summaries by logging into the Members Only Section of the website.
December Quarter Shows good value gains for 2015
2015 Industry Statistics Summary
2015 saw an uplift in the overall market with an 8% in value over 2014 and around 11% over two years ago. While it does not really reflect the full value of the currency devaluation over that time it would be welcome news for most of the industry. Import value of $256m is the best since 2009 – after which time it headed south – import values getting down to the low $200m mark. The US has largely bounced back year on year since the GFC and aftermath, and this is starting to reflect in our numbers over recent years. It could also reflect less business going off shore with a more expensive US Dollar.
The Keyboard Category posted quite a good result overall, and continued an upward path over the 2013-15 three- year comparison period.
Electronic Keyboards on the rise again, with the Average Unit Value up almost across the board and digitals positing very strong gains year-on-year of over 20%. Acoustics added nearly 10% in import value in 2015.
Band and Orchestra surprised, especially the December quarter results. All the major lines in the category being brass, flutes, clarinets and saxophones are pretty strong with gains over around 15% in both volume and value. Other wind pulls the volume down a bit but against the increase in high value products but this is of little consequence
Percussion generally experienced a 12% bounce in the past year. Kits were up and other percussion up too – a welcome change in this segment’s fortunes.
Cymbals are an anomaly in reported ABS figs in March and June for Cymbals imported from the USA. Therefore, we will have to estimate ‘normal’ months in the market report to reflect a more realistic number. We have enquired at the ABS as to what this anomaly could have been.
Orchestral strings can be a bit up and down – in 2015 it was an up year. There have also been some quite high value European imports during 2015 which also drives up the segment value a bit.
In the Guitar category a big increase in value of guitar strings of $1.4 million over previous year provided a real reflection of exchange rate movements. It may reflect some delivery overlaps when comparing the 2014 value reported, but still the result would seem to reflect the current health of the Guitar category.
Acoustics are powering on with another record year of 157,000 units imported! With a big value increase over the last two years. Electrics are still in decline year on year, but a surge in bass guitar numbers compensated.
The overall volume about par with 2014 but value was up by nearly 9% across the category.
Electronic Instruments see a notable increase in Synths, while the ‘Other’ segment thought to be driven by e-drums slowed its growth pattern of the previous two years, as did Turntables.
Audio numbers revealed that some big high value mixers came in in the quarter helping to push up value. Volume growth is most based around speakers with most other products thereabouts, but the segment showed modest gains of nearly 5% in value.
The wireless mic replacement peak may be over. It will be interesting to see if volumes drop a again next year back to 130,000 or so units and whether that will be a new benchmark to move forward on.
It was a soft year for traditional products but they have been on a roll for the last decade. Given ukuleles fall into this category it feels though a shipment was late such was the downturn, but this may readjust itself by the first quarter of 2016.
Accessories up by 12%. Like guitar strings this might reflect the real cost increase over the year.
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September 2015 Quarter Adds Some Value to the Market
All key sectors appear to have fared reasonably well Year on year to September 30, 2015 – value is up 5.5% influenced in part by the exchange rate. Putting some value back into the industry is not a bad thing we would have to add. Numbers are generally heading in the right direction and are not contracting to any great degree.
Many commentators believe that the drop in the $ has generally reduced the online competition to a degree. We think that is a fair thing to think – others say a more realistic retail pricing regime helps too to stunt the perception that there was too bigger gap between US online and local retail prices.
Interestingly the last time we had average unit values up around the $125 mark was 2000 when the dollar was at 0.58 US cents. Where we are now at around 0.73 US cents (which was last seen in 2004) the AUV of our imports was $116. That’s 11 years ago and since the CPI has increased by around 26% but prices by just 8.5%.
The exchange rate seems to have certainly impacted some segments (acoustic pianos, brass, woodwind significantly and percussion and guitars to some extent) but equally not others in general the electronics products seem pretty flat rising just a couple of percentage points.
Electronic drums keep getting cheaper and increase in numbers, displaying much the same pattern as digital pianos did. Digital Pianos were up on last year as were uprights. Acoustic drums were also up in units by 12% year on year.* Cymbal reporting still seems to be out of whack, with much lower value product being coded in that segment than previously. We are still scrutinising the Cymbals stats which look a bit odd but looking more orderly than 2 quarters ago.
We are seeing signs of electric guitars finding a new level of stability. In 2009/10 we saw over 80,000 annual imports and it has been downhill since then falling to 50,000 odd thousand. It is starting to build again toward 60,000 units. Acoustic guitar numbers were flat, but up in value. DJ/Turntables continued its upward trend. Woodwind units were down significantly in the high volume ‘Other’ segment, perhaps confirming a perception that ukuleles are eating into the share for recorders in school. Otherwise the segment performed well year on year.
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FY2014- 2015 Industry Statistics
The quarterly statistics are now online in the member’s section of the website.
Click here to access Members only section https://australianmusic.asn.au/
The numbers show a 3% drop in import volumes year-on-year, but a corresponding 4% jump in value. Overall one could say that the 14-15 financial year held its ground only year-on-year. This is despite volumes increasing year on year in the last quarter of 2014.
Key product areas such as pianos and keyboards showed some steady growth with digital pianos and upright acoustics nudging north and portables showing a strong gain. Values were up in acoustics overall, reflecting the higher cost of imports via the currency adjustments. Some adjustments were made to the digital/portables balance, which perhaps overstated the increase in digital pianos. Overall a good financial year result for keyboards.
Generally all percussion segments showed some incremental increases, year-on-year, but the category was saved by educational and other percussion which posted a significant 22% increase in units.
Acoustic sets and cymbals struggle against a declining long term trend however a more positive financial year result. There were some anomalies in the cymbal figures for the previous two quarters, it will be noticed on interrogation; this will be investigated prior to 2015 figures being completed.
Strings, Brass and Educational products held their ground with the exception of Woodwinds which showed a marked decline in units but an increase in value overall.
Guitars as a category only held its ground, with acoustics dominating the result with a unit increase of 13%. Bass guitars bounced back for the year to June posting a nearly 6% rise and amps were in the same ball park. No bounce for electrics yet, but not much ground lost on June 2014. Accessories performed well.
Electronic instruments performed strongly overall with a big increase in units of 17%, with value, however static. Other electronics is being dominated by the electronic drums segment which took a sharp rise, dominated by cheaper imports with an equally sharp decline in Value. DJ continues its upward trend with both units and value boasting a strong increase.
Speakers were the hero product of the Sound and Recording category, with a solid rise of 15% in units and 13% in value. Amps continued its downward trend which is all likelihood given up as more amps appear in speaker cabinets.
Microphones achieved a lower growth number of nearly 6% as the replacement of wireless systems slowed.
Overall, a lack-lustre year, with few highlights but with growth in most categories, albeit not spectacular.
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AMA Seeks Creation of Electronic Percussion Statistical Code
A submission to the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been completed by the association. It seeks to recognise the emergence of the Electronic Percussion product category over the last decade particularly, and enable more accurate industry data and reporting to be achieved. The reclassified code, if approved, would take effect in July 2015. Also on the radar is a possibility of a duty free category, given there is no local manufacture in this category.
2014 ABS Music Products Industry Statistics
The ABS Music Products Industry Statistics has been compiled for the 2014 Calendar year. Overall a result that will please, as we saw units and demand strengthened with a strong last quarter. Volumes were up 11%, value was up 4% adding approximately $50m to the industry at retail. This represented a 7% drop in Average Unit Value. The increase outpaced that of the Australian economy which grew by 2.5%.
There were some product segments with reasons to be optimistic and others for various reasons that did not fare as well. The keyboard sector was up with digital piano units up 8% and acoustics overall holding their ground. In 2014 digital piano unit volumes increased by 5% while segment value rose by a little more than 2%. A sharp increase in the value of Portable keyboards may indicate some leakage of digital piano figs into the category, but overall the electronic keyboard sector did well. Overall imports were up in 2014 by 4% (units) and 18% (value), the value result due to a 13% increase in the average unit value. The longer term trends show this to be a declining segment as it has been losing both volume and value for much of the last decade, so perhaps some room for optimism here.
The unit imports of grand pianos which perhaps run parallel to the general state of the economy were flat. Overall upright piano imports rose marginally in unit terms in 2014 to record a second successive year of small but incremental growth. An increase in average unit values however saw import value rise by 9%.
He guitar market saw an increase of units of nearly 7% while average unit value fell markedly. The acoustic guitar market underpinned a strong performance more than offsetting the softness in the electric market. Amplifiers continued their upward trend with a near 7% rise in units and the bellwether of guitar and bass strings rose over 11% in import value. The 2014 number represented a very healthy 20% increase over 2012.
Acoustic percussion posted an overall category rise, mainly due to Educational and other percussion segment increasing by 22% year on year. Imports of drum kits and cymbals however continued in a downward direction. Electronic kits on the other hand reported a large increase. Computer music software was flat in units, but down in average value, as products in these categories experience continued price deflation. DJ products on the other hand continued its recent resurgence with strong increases in numbers of over 25% plus 15% in average value.
Imports into the Brass category have been in decline for the six years to 2012, so a 2014 result which saw a nearly 10% increase in unit imports and a 4% increase in import value was very welcome. Likewise, the woodwind segments collectively rallied somewhat in 2014. Overall units increased by 12% and import value rose by 10%. However, of the major three segment flutes, clarinets and saxophones only the clarinet segment recorded a result in 2014 above that of 2013.
Stringed instruments did not fare as well, with a 10% drop in units, but a corresponding rise in value, as fewer, more expensive instruments were imported.
Sound and Recording recorded good growth of over 11% in units but a flat result in value as cheaper technology drove down the AUV of Signal processors and multi track. A strong result in PA with reduced unit numbers in self-contained amps, being more than offset by the amps going into powered speakers with a healthy 18% increase in speakers recorded. Microphone continued on the upward trend over the past three years in large part due to suppliers stocking up for an increased consumer demand caused by the new frequency allocations which took effect January 1, 2015.
General Accessories were up in value by over 5%
The 2014 Market Report will be published in the AMA members only area of this site.
The Music Trades magazine reports that the US music products industry in 2014 continued its recovery from the financial crisis, posting its fifth consecutive year over- year sales gain. The U.S. retail value of the broad array of musical instruments, recording gear, and audio products reached $7.03 billion, a 3.3% gain over last year’s level of $6.8 billion. The rise closely tracks the trajectory of the national economy, which closed out year with a 2.6% gain in gross domestic product. “But gains were not distributed evenly among different product categories”.
The improving technology that delivered better value to consumers also crimped sales growth by reducing average selling prices.
Fretted instruments posted their best performance in seven years, advancing 7% and “reinforced the guitar’s continued standing as the preeminent instrument in popular music. Acoustic guitars led the charge with a 10% gain. Effects pedals were also up 13%, indicating the many more types and brands of foot pedal available today.
“A 4.0% gain in the retail value of audio gear reflects the durable demand for high-quality sound”, while recording product sales were flat most probably as the cost of such products trended down.
Like in Australia, electronic percussion eroded sales of traditional drumkits, which experienced a 1.1% unit decline.
3.1% gain in retail value of woodwind, brasswind, and stringed instrument shipments reflected school enrolment increases and perhaps a trend towards step up instruments.
The piano market posted a modest increase in both dollars and units in 2014. Uprights were the best performers, with unit sales rising 9.1%. Grand units dropped 5.1% but dollar volume was flat as customers opted for larger instruments.
Sales of digital pianos increased 3.7% but retail value rose only 1.2%, reflecting lower average selling prices. Portable keyboard sales rebounded in 2015, with a 10.2% gain in units.
The US market has a lot to guide the local market with many parallel trends. The full report is available from The Music Trades at www.musictrades.com