JMT Web News


December 26, 2022 5:21 PM

6 Music Retailers Talk: New Year Holiday Season Sale

“Guitars, especially electric models have sold well these couple of months. Vintage and custom models as well as artist signature gears are moving well. Imported models have significantly increased shares as shipment level recovered in the fall. It is great seeing sales grow under our business policy, ‘Sell products with true value at appropriate price.’ “Overall business environment is likely regaining the pre-pandemic conditions. On the other hand, our inventory volume is growing. It is a matter of better control of sales and inventory balance. One notable phenomenon in sales is soaring demands overseas. As travel restriction is eased, more tourists from outside Japan visit us lately. More than that, we see increasing cross-border online sales via Weaker yen attracts more foreign customers. We hope the trend continues. “The year-end/new year holiday season approaches, we have sizable number of customers searching gears to buy with bonus on weekends. “We expect good selection of products and well-planned inventory will contribute to the business.”

Kazuo Mitsugi, Store Manager, Kurosawa Gakki G-Club Shibuya, Tokyo

“After a new store built past April, we operate sharing 2nd and 3rd floors of our building. Since the former store stood facing the street, it took us a little time to adapt to the new floor plans. “After April, we feel more serious customers visit us than before. In the past we had not a few first time visitors dropping in and strolling the sales floor. The new customers typically select high-ticket bizen works, Höfner and Rickenbacker instruments. During the pandemic, they started to come to us after getting information on internet and online video. As a specialist store of high-quality original guitars, we always keep showing video on products on our website as we understand serious customer needs information. “Our main customer base is 40s and over male adults and married couples. Customers from overseas are increasing now, but we will see more of them come to us in months ahead. “We started year-end/new year sales campaign in the end of November, around the Black Friday. Recent price hike of every product has been a challenge for us, but we keep our policy, ‘Provide customers with value-added products’.”

Tatsuki Moda, Store Manager, Miyaji Guitars Kanda, Tokyo

“We feel sales of wind instruments are slowly coming back. As a shop specialized in flute, we have an exclusive salon for flutist to better serve the local flute community. As its awareness increases, we see more customers visit or call us these days. “Given that number of symphonic band student is declining, it is hard to recover the school market before the pandemic. While adult player is increasing, and business is brisk. We expect to enhance sales campaign in collaboration with our brass instrument specialist store, Wind Crew, in Shin-ohkubo, Tokyo for the coming best season. “The COVID-19-related restrictions are loosened, we see visitors from overseas countries are increasing, though they largely stop by for CD and score. Hopefully the customer searching musical instrument follows in coming months. “We are carrying a massive sales campaign from the beginning of December putting emphasis on single different category every week. We have also realigned the piano floor with additional units displayed for easy experiment and comparison. “After experiencing a host of irregularities during the pandemic, we feel the business environment is nearly returning to the level of 3 years ago. It is my hope that the year-end/new year sales season further pushes up our business.”

Takashi Obara, Store Manager, Yamano Gakki Ginza Main Store, Tokyo

“Growing studio rentals and increasing demands for electric basses and effect pedals tell us the business is coming back at last these days. Sales of electric guitars increased 10%, and business of other fretted instruments, pedal effects and amps are also growing. “Sales are declining in unit, but average unit price is going up. It may reflect the recent trend that the serious players buy instruments with real value. “One notable trend is dramatic increase of cross-border online sales probably because of weakening Yen. The expensive models by domestic makers are driving the total sales. It’s surprising that customers in California purchase instruments made in California from us. As Yen is a bit stronger these days, we see last-minute orders are coming in. “Demands for expensive products are also high among locals. We expect good business for the year-end/new year sales season as we have stocked good selection of high-quality products which can surely meet the customer needs.”

Hiroyuki Yamada, Blue Guitars Buyer/Manager, Kaishindo Gakki, Toyama Pref.

“The market has gradually returned to the pre-pandemic level since this past spring, and digital pianos and electronic keyboards sell well but guitars seem to have lost one-time appeal today. “Though unit sales are slow, adult customer tend to select expensive models priced between 400,000Yen and 500,000Yen. Sometimes they even buy luxury models priced over 1 mil. yen. “We see not much change in sales for wind and fretted instruments in term of sales marketing at the store, but substantial sales of pop musical instruments, particularly small accessories much shifted to electric commerce during the pandemic. Customer browsed floors of brick-and-mortar store in the past, but they are all gone today. Accessories, repair services and music teaching studio operation were the 3 biggest business lines to attract visitors, but we have fewer selection of accessories today. “We have started the year-end/new year sales campaign a little earlier than usual coupled with live events and seminars shelved for nearly 3 years in cooperation with the suppliers. “To meet the growing EC demands, we recently launched an exclusive EC section on the basement floor redesigning part of the event stage. Assigning extra staff, it is now easier to control online sales and shipping. “Also, we upgraded selection of music-themed incentives recently on the 1st floor. They are the favorite items for foreign tourists.”

Masayoshi Ogasawara, Store Manager, Jeugia Sanjo Main Store, Kyoto

“The market is showing a strong recovery. Our business was not affected by the 7th wave of COVID-19, but some categories are now impacted by the price hike though we are not much influenced. “We are a little concerned about the soft sales of digital piano. People rushed to buy the instrument during the last 12 months, but supply exceeds demands today. I am worried that excess supply may damage the healthy sales of digital piano and affect market stability. “Heavily damaged wind instrument market is slowly getting back. Customer switched buying channel from brick and mortar store to online merchant, but now they are coming back to physical store where they can select their instrument by touching keys and hearing the sound. “Black Friday Sale got started at the end of November. We are positive for the special campaign though slow sales of inexpensive instruments bother us. “As travel restriction eased worldwide, we have growing number of visitors from Asia except for China. They help our business continue. “I much expect distribution of the new import guitar brand which was added to our lines under a new dealership agreement I made when I recently traveled abroad for the first time in the last 3 years.”

So Isobe, General Manager, Musical Instruments Sales Division, Miki Gakki, Osaka

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