JMT Web News


March 2, 2022 3:30 PM

2021 Japanese Music Products Retail Market Survey

107 music stores report sales increase

The pandemic continued to damage business and life in 2021 as the Japanese Government issued the declaration of state of emergency in January which lasted 10 months until October. Not a few retailers had difficulties running business under restricted conditions even after positive case began to decline. Thus, customer traffic didn’t return to the level before the pandemic.

As covid vaccination began moving ahead, positive case of omicron type emerged and spread quickly throughout Japan. People are still not confident to get back to previous lifestyle.

Japan Music Trades conducted annual retail market survey in the middle of January calling on or sending a questionnaire throughout Japan to 151 music retailers. A total of 107 among them responded. We appreciate very much their time and support to meet our request.

Their reports well reflect that the sales which had significantly dipped the year before last recovered, but not yet to the level before the pandemic.

The music retailers have confirmed basic retail rules that are to avoid impractical price cut, reaffirm strength of physical store, upgrade expertise and marketing ability of sales staff, and contribute to local music community.

More than 50% of participated retailers reported sales increase

Fifty five out of 107 music retailers, more than 50% reported sales increase in 2021, 28 decrease and 22 flat. In the 2020 survey over 80% retailers replied their sales decreased. In 2021 the retailer suffered less than the year before as they kept stores open and music teaching studio resumed though business hours were limited.

All in all, it‘s safe to say that music retail business has not yet returned to the pre-pandemic environment in 2019. During the most important business season from year end to early year, 37 retailers (or 35% of the participated retailers) reported sales increase, 44 retailers (or 42%) sales decrease, and 24 retailers (or 23%) no change.

Looking into sales by product category, grand and upright pianos, digital pianos, violin family instruments and enrollment of music teaching studio for adult increased last year. Stay-at-home trend in 2020 helped boost the sales of digital piano, and it continued throughout the last year. Sales growth of acoustic piano and increased enrollment of music teaching studio for adult may well reflect the demands generated as music stores resumed operation after temporary closure.

While items of which sales declined include acoustic and electric guitars, amps, effect processors, drums, digital drums, miscellaneous percussion instruments, keyboard synthesizer, digital equipment, recording & PA equipment, printed music and music books. Sales of acoustic guitar significantly increased as people frenetically purchased the instrument while staying at home the year before last, but the trend shifted last year. Poor sales of digital musical instruments are partly attributed to shortage of chips, but also opportunities for live performance were lost for long.

Which products sold best

The music retailers replied grand pianos sold best in 2021. It’s supposed that demands generated as they resumed music teaching studio, and stay-at-home environment contributed to increase trade-up sales.

Yamaha C3X, Kawai SK-3, Yamaha C3X espressivo were the best sold items. Yamaha CLP-745, CLP Series, Casio PX-S1100/S1000, Kawai CA49 digital pianos also sold well.

Yamaha C3X, Kawai SK-3, Yamaha C3X espressivo were the best sold items. Yamaha CLP-745, CLP Series, Casio PX-S1100/S1000, Kawai CA49 digital pianos also sold well.

Also demands grew for Yanagisawa saxophones, Altus and Sankyo flutes, Buffet Crampon clarinets and Bach trumpets.

Most prospective instruments in 2022

The music retailers selected grand pianos as they most expected in 2022. Adult pianists who began playing piano want to buy them as well as demands grow as piano competition will make a comeback. They eye Yamaha C3X espressivo, the new model introduced in 2021 which won the first Choice of Music Retailers Award last year.

Wind instruments including flutes trumpets, Yamaha alto saxophones and Buffet Crampon clarinets are what they also expected to move fast in 2022.

They also listed artist models of electric guitar and amp as they will be sought after items once artists can start music activities and perform live on stage. Sales of digital pianos, ukuleles and kalimbas look to be positive, too. Music retailers hope shortage of chips are resolved and to stock digital pianos still in much demand.

Online Sales

Seventy-one music retailers use their own website most for online marketing. It’s followed by Facebook (53 stores), Twitter (52), Instagram (49), Digimart (32), YouTube (26) and LINE (24). The survey tells retailers using Instagram is increasing and two thirds of retailers are using Facebook and Twitter along with Instagram.

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