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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Login to the Member’s Section to access the 3-year summary to September and the adjusted Country of origin data.
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