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April 16, 2018 11:22 AM

Industry’s First Music Products Retail Market & Trend Survey

Japan Musical Instruments Association with Takuya Nakata as its president, unveiled recently 2016 retail market survey on 20 music products categories in Japan in collaboration of 70 leading retailers. It’s the first time that the industry has organized the survey to overview Japan’s music products market as a whole, trend of individual product categories, to share the results in the industry and seek measures to develop market and increase music makers. To keep the acquired data under strict control, JMIA commissioned data collection to a third party, and analysis of the market and trend to Japan Music Trades.

2016 Japan Musical Instruments Sales (Retail Market: in units & value)
Pianos: 69,011 units, 20,524 million yen
Other Keyboard Instruments: 10 units, 9.1 million yen
Organs: 6,458 units, 2,142 million yen
Portable Keyboards: 30,114 units, 523 million yen
Wind Instruments: 44,579 units, 11,104 million yen
Stringed Instruments: 15,916 units, 2,276 million yen
Percussion Instruments: 460,537 units, 2,901 million yen
Guitars: 2,369,037 units, 27,030 million yen
Ukuleles: 47,167 units, 1,015 million yen
Other Musical Instruments: 332,165 units, 1,444 million yen
Japanese Traditional Instruments: 7,026 units, 71 million yen
Digital Instruments: 17,150 units, 1,009 million yen
PA Systems: 19,571 units, 546 million yen
Microphones: 23,261 units, 398 million yen
Signal Processors: 881 units, 34 million yen
Recording Equipment: 7,392 units, 181 million yen
Computer Music Software: 20,135 units, 623 million yen
DJ Equipment: 9,528 units, 453 million yen
Karaoke Hardware: N/A, N/A
Sheet Music: 4,863,763 units, 6,345 million yen
Total: 8,343,701 units, 78,718 million yen

JMIA plans a second survey in April for the next term from April, 2017 to March, 2018.

The product categorization conforms to U.S. Retail Sales Report of NAMM Global Report for easier comparison with the world’s largest U.S. market. U.S. Music Trades magazine provides NAMM with sales data and assumption.

Reflecting Japan’s aging society, number of entry-level young music players declined on almost all categories in 2016. On the contrary, middle-aged and senior music makers increased.

Japan’s birthrate topped 2 million in the first and second baby boom times, but slipped to below half in 2016. The society will be further impacted after 2018, the year number of population under 18 years old is estimated to go down.

Music products sales in Japan show a clear purchase pattern: Adult music makers buy high quality expensive instruments. While, entry-level music players buy either competitively priced instruments, or high-ticket models. The industry sees slow sales of instruments in mid-price range.

Pianos (acoustic pianos, digital pianos, automatic player pianos, previously owned pianos)
The JMIA production statistics tell about 15,000 acoustic pianos and 200,000 digital pianos are sold in Japan annually. Sales of grand and upright pianos are declining, but the industry experts expect demands for grand piano will grow as substantial percentage of piano players have years of musical experience and they are likely to upgrade their instruments.

Further growth of digital drums for home users looks slim. Purchase of bass drums, timpani and other concert percussion instruments is slowing down by budget cuts at schools. While instrumental music lesson at school has been reduced, school music educators prefer xylophones and glockenspiels for their effectiveness to teach melody in ensemble music.

The report includes survey on used pianos. The production and export statistics suggest that around 100,000 used pianos are exported from Japan every year. In the domestic market, according to the distributors and retailers, sales of used pianos are likely somewhere between over 10,000 units and less than 20,000 units.

Wind & string instruments (brass, woodwind instruments, violin-family instruments, etc.)

Sales of this category are well in general. Demands for saxophone, in particular, are growing as increasing number of adult players are actively involved in local music society in addition to positive school market. Students prefer to purchase their instruments themselves, and average unit price is going up.

Stringed instruments sales is on upward trend as elementary and junior high schools encourage students to get involved in music activities with string ensemble and orchestra, and increase of adult players participating in local community orchestra, and new adult students are signing up for lessons at local music schools. Average unit price of violin is rising.

Percussion instruments (drumkits, marching drums, educational percussions, xylophones, glockenspiels, digital drums, cajons, sticks, drum hardware)
Demands for acoustic drum kit have been stagnant for some time. Slow sales of sticks and hardware suggest customer base of percussion instruments is getting smaller.

Further growth of digital drums for home users looks slim. Purchase of bass drums, timpani and other concert percussion instruments is slowing down by budget cuts at schools. While instrumental lesson at school has been reduced, school music educators prefer xylophones and glockenspiels for their effectiveness to teach melody in ensemble music.

Guitars (acoustic & electric guitars, amps, effect processors, ukuleles)
Downward trend continues both for acoustic and electric guitars. Acoustic guitars enjoyed strong demands until 2 years ago, but it’s stagnant today. Electric guitar sales were brisk as the popular TV program featuring electric guitar attracted interest of massive first-time players. The boom is gone now. Middle-aged and senior guitar players are prospective customer for expensive guitars, but decrease of entry-level users is a serious challenge for the industry.

Band activities are no longer first interest of young generation. Given the fact that guitar sales have great impact to businesses of related accessories, it’s the time that the industry as a whole takes a bold step to advocate pleasure of music playing to young people and the society to stimulate the market.

Ukulele maintains popularity among people of all age groups. Once a summer fad, it’s now a familiar instrument purchased year-round. It’s not uncommon that not a few ukulele players purchase second or third instruments.

Digital musical instruments (synthesizers with a keyboard)
Single unit hardware synthesizers with a keyboard and built-in sound modules are losing their popularity as they have been substituted by software synthesizers and they become common and widely used. But models with a keyboard are favorite items for musicians in their 40s and 50s who experienced synthesizer boom in 80s. Good news is that more junior and senior high-school students are buying synthesizers mainly entry-level models for their use in extracurricular activities.

Other musical instruments (harmonicas, keyboard harmonicas, accordions, recorders, ocarinas, etc.)
Largely used at school, harmonicas, keyboard harmonicas and recorders are losing their share in the market as number of children and grade school children are decreasing. Being staple instruments that everyone experiences when young, college students and adult music makers as well as older people find their attractive sound characteristics again and play privately or in bands.

Polyphonic harmonica is more popular among middle-aged and older people than before. In recent years, increased exposure of young star musicians is contributing to draw entry-level players.

Ocarinas and recorders find market among middle-aged and senior female adults. They are likely customer of expensive models, and manufacturers expect steady growth of the market in coming years.

PA system & Recording equipment (power amplifiers, mixers, speakers, mics, MTRs)
Advancing technology, increasingly efficient production and the trend packaging multiple functions not available before in one single unit result in reduction of unit price. Sales of multiple effect processors (excluding units for guitar) and signal processors are affected by prolific number of mixers and amplifiers with built-in DSP.

Mainstream of sound recording and edit works has shifted to DAW. The industry provides older customers in their 40s and 50s who don’t much like personal computers with dedicated and versatile multi-track recorders.

Portable digital recorder finds larger applications outside the musical purpose, and some models sold more than 10 years ago are being replaced with new ones.

Consumer is buying more wireless microphones for home recording studio as their prices come down. Market for models specially designed for mobile devices are flourishing as new manufacturers join the segment. They are appealing to sound-conscious streaming users, and the market is expanding.

Computer music software and DJ equipment (production software and peripherals, DJ mixers & controllers, lighting equipment)
DAW consisted of music production software, audio interface, controller, etc. has become a mainstream of sound recording and sound edit works. Small manufacturers compete with two prominent host application manufacturers for larger share of the market.

Thanks to growing interest in vocaloid music for a decade, young generations are more intrigued by music production, however, a major obstacle for them, especially early teens, is difficulty of having their own pc.

Despite DJ equipment is not much exposed at music stores these days, people finds it an ideal hobby at home. They are inspired by DJs watching their performance at various live events.

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List of Japanese & imported pianos manufactured from 1946 to 2017. A full list of Japanese pianos with serial numbers, specifications, finishes, photos. A list of imported pianos with brand names, model numbers, finishes, and retail prices. A must for used piano dealers.

* 63 brand names, 1,600 models, serial numbers.
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* Japan Piano Atlas 2008 and 2013 editions now come in one single publication and updated. The 2008 and 2013 editions are out of print.

Piano Nomenclatur (Far East version)

Piano vocabulary listing the parts of the piano, the name of the part, the adjustment criteria of the action etc. in four languages.

* Far East version of Piano Nomenclature originally written by Nikolaus Schimmel /H. K. Herzog
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