New Quarterly Import Report from the AMA

17th November 2023

The first of a new seasonal report from the AMA, sharing up to date import data throughout the year, has just been released. As part of the recent review of the Annual Market Report, and the updated methodology and presentation, these reports will be released soon after quarterly data is made available.

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2023 is turning out to be a challenging year for many in the industry, with the average imports in Units (to 30/09/22) being 6% lower than the equivalent period last year (year to 30/09/22), and 8% lower than the 5 year average*. Overall the average of these results is 8% higher than 2019 (equivalent period, year to 30/09/19) but that trend is not evenly spread. The table below shows Categories & Sections ranked from the highest increase to highest decrease compared to 2022.

Some of the swings from year to year appear to be a ‘correction’ or ‘return to normal’ after an unusually high or low 2022, with Flutes almost doubling after a low result in 2022 and Loudspeakers** more than halving after an unusually high result last year.

Of the 31 main Categories* shown below, only 9 increased vs the comparable period in both 2022 and 2019 (in Units), they were: Orchestral Strings, Flutes, Clarinets, Brass, Wireless Microphones, Unpowered Mixers, Grand Pianos, Educational & Other Percussion. In all of these cases except Grand Pianos, the increase on the 5 year average is more modest than the biggest of those changes (compared to 2019 or 2023), because the years in between have been moderated by some lower results. The most stable result, using these measures, appears to be Upright Pianos which fell by just 1% vs 2022 and increased by 1% vs 2019.

Import Value tells a different story however, with an increase on each of the past three years including the past 12 months. Much of this comes from the large Pro Audio section but all of the seven sections except ‘Guitars’ and ‘Electronic Instruments’ increased in Value compared to last year.

The Annual Market Report next year will look into changes in Average Unit Value in more detail, but in general an increase in Value and decrease in Units means AUV is higher overall.

The 2nd of 8 tables from the report, shown below, illustrates this increase in Value. For those unfamiliar with the report’s structure, the ‘Guitar’ Section for example includes Electric Guitars, Bass Guitars, Acoustic & Acoustic-Electric Guitars, Guitar Amplifiers***, Ukuleles & Traditional Instruments.

The following table is not part of the report but shows the changes described above. For the data behind this, with quarterly imports by Section & Category, broken down by Quarterly data (over 4 years) and Year to Date data (over 10 years), see the new Quarterly Report.

*excluding Accessories & Print Music
**Multiple Loudspeakers in an Enclosure. We focus on this rather than the Single Loudspeakers code, which appears to be more affected by consumer products.
***For this analysis and the report's Section totals we use the 'Combo Amps' code, ie. "Electric sound amplifier sets designed for use with guitars and bass guitars", but not "Multiple loudspeakers, mounted in the same enclosure for use with musical instruments", which is reported annually but does not appear to be as useful an indicator.