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October 18, 2021 4:10 PM

2020 Music Products Industry Manufacturers Survey- by Japan Musical Instruments Association

Japan Musical Instruments Association (JMIA) completed 2020 Music Products Industry Survey of Manufacturers, recently. It covers 12 months from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

JMIA sent a questionnaire to 75 music products manufacturers throughout Japan of which 47 companies participated. Though the 2020 survey was finalized with 9 companies fewer than the previous survey, it surely depicts a scape of music products manufacturing business in Japan. 2020 Survey of Music Retailers will appear in December issue of Japan Music Trades.

The survey reveals for the first time after the world confined in lockdown how much the COVID-19 impacted the manufacturers and their businesses.
While demands for wind instruments sharply dropped as music education at school almost stopped to prevent virus infection, and sales of large keyboard instruments stalled after shutdown of music lesson studios in town, business of acoustic guitars and DAW-related gears flourished supported by staying home demands.

Electronic keyboards helped keep the industry afloat

Sales of upright and grand pianos, and automatic player pianos were 47.6 billion yen during the year. Adding 71.6 billion yen sales of digital pianos, the category shared the largest 46% of the total.

Gross domestic shipment of acoustic and grand pianos, and automatic player pianos was 9,579 units, a 25% decline over the previous year. They dropped 24% in value to 5.8 billion yen. Slowdown of factory operation influenced the manufacturers to some extent, but total production was not much affected with minor 9% decline of output from the year before in the domestic market. On the contrary, overseas production was harder hit with 22% decline in unit.

Last year 7,028 upright pianos, that was a 21% decline from the previous year, 2,434 grand pianos, a 34% decline, and 117 automatic player pianos, an 18% decline, were shipped in the domestic market. While, export of upright, grand and automatic player pianos moderately declined between 12% and 18%.

It’s broadly reported that sales of digital pianos and electronic keyboards significantly increased during the global lockdown, but the domestic shipment of them were impacted by shutdown of music lesson studios.
Digital piano shipment in the domestic market increased 6% to 210,000 units. While export of the category rose 15% to 1.6 million units.

Domestic shipment of electronic keyboards with standard size keys declined 6% (240 thousand units), and export gained 3% (2 million units). Export of electronic keyboards with small size keys increased marginal 1% to 500 thousand units, but domestic shipment jumped up 51% to 150 thousand units. It’s notable that domestic shipment of electronic keyboards with small size keys and export of digital pianos remarkably increased in 2020.

The sizable increase of electronic keyboards with small size keys in the domestic market is possibly attributed to the fact that some schools purchased the instruments in place of recorders and harmonicas to prevent spread of the corona virus.

Wind instruments decreased 34%

Domestic shipment and export of wind instruments reached 20.4 billion yen, sharing 8% of total sales. Value-wise, total shipment of the category dipped 34% (33% domestic shipment and 35% export).

As explained somewhere in this report, the heavy tall on this category was brought by headwinds of COVID-19-related restrictions including self-confined music activities at school and music lesson studios in town, as well as cancellation of all types of music competitions. Every factor struck demands for wind instruments.

Domestic shipment of woodwind and brass instruments declined 30% and over 40%, respectively, both in unit and value. Other wind instruments also recorded severe decline: flutes, -23% in both unit and value, clarinets, -27% in unit and 39% in value, saxophones, -25% in unit and -36% in value, trumpets & cornets, -39% in unit and 43% in value, and trombones, -47% both in unit and value.

Export of clarinet recorded the largest decline with -47% in unit and 49% in value. Other instruments also declined: flutes, -47% in unit, 39% in value, saxophones, -23% in unit, 26% in value, trumpets & cornets, -34% in value, -39% in value and trombone, -34% in unit and 40% in value. All in all, woodwind and brass instruments export dipped 38% in unit and 33% in value.

Production and domestic shipment of string instruments including violins, violas, celli, double basses, and electric violins increased not much affected by the pandemic as they are not breath-controlled instruments. Export of them increased 37% in unit but went down 4% in value. Given that domestic shipment more than doubled (234%) in unit but decreased 17% in value, demands soared for entry level inexpensive models during the year.

Drumkits and electronic drums increase

Domestic shipment and export of percussion instruments increased 14% to 20.5 billion yen. Export of drumkits rose 36% in unit and 50% in value, while single unit drums rose 18% in unit but dropped 7% in value.

Percussion hardware increased nearly 30%. Export of sticks and mallets tripled in unit and went up 51% in value.

Domestic shipment of drumkits increased 12% in unit but decreased 2% in value. Cajons also ended with fare increase of 15% in unit and 9% in value.

Marching drums have traditionally shared larger part of export in the total shipment, but they fell 52% both in unit and value last year. Domestic shipment of them also declined 27% in unit and 29% in value.
The same conditions halted shipment of wind instruments also impacted the category.

Export of table-top xylophones slipped down 47% both in unit and value. On the contrary, domestic shipment of them increased 73% in unit and 44% in value, which suggests more schools purchased them in preference of safer instruments against the corona virus than blown instruments in ensemble music.

Backed by strong demands during self-confinement, domestic shipment of electronic drumkits jumped up 36% in unit and 47% in value. Export of them increased 24% in unit and 40% in value as well. They much contributed to the excellent results of this category.

Sound domestic shipment of acoustic guitars

Domestic shipment and export of guitars and related products including acoustic guitars, electric-acoustic guitars, electric guitars & basses, amps, effect pedals, tuners and strings marked 40.4 billion yen, sharing 15% of the total sales.

Though export of acoustic guitars only slightly increased despite of demands grown during the lockdown, domestic shipment of them advanced 29% in unit and 22% in value. Export of electric-acoustic guitars also went up 38% in unit and 22% in value. Domestic shipment of them followed the same pattern as export with 23% increase in unit and 8% increase in value.

It is hard to know what happened to export of electric guitars last year. The figures of domestic shipment and export last year are incomparable because they are totally irrelated to the results of the year before last.

Last year Japan exported 420,000 electric guitars, which was an increase of 332%, and they valued 7.9 billion yen (an increase of 267%). On the other hand, domestic shipment of the instruments was 49,000 units, a 31% decline, and valued 3.5 billion yen, a 35% decline. There was no such enormous unbalance between export and domestic shipment of amps and strings. Consequently, it suggests incorrect reports submitted from participated manufacturers, not any changes of trend in the market, or, simply decrease of manufacturers participated in the survey.

Export of amplifiers and guitar and bass strings increased 29% and 592%, respectively. Domestic shipment of them increased 5% and 15%, respectively.

Lockdown hit recorders

Domestic shipment of miscellaneous instruments including harmonicas, melodicas, accordions, recorders, ocarinas and Taishokotos dropped 10% both in unit and value. Recorders decreased 14% in unit and 20% in value as the instrument was not recommended in classrooms during the pandemic. Similarly, harmonicas went down 28% in unit and 19% in value.
Contrary to recorders and harmonicas, domestic shipment of melodicas marginally declined, only 2% in unit and 3% in value.
Ocarinas gained 12% in unit and 5% in value. It’s likely that the instrument drew attention and interest of adults for their pastime music making.

Brisk export of digital musical instruments

Total shipment of keyboard synthesizers and other digital musical instruments went down 3% in unit and 18% in value. Keyboard synthesizers achieved healthy growth of export with 6% increase in unit, while other digital musical instruments decreased 5% in unit.
Domestic shipment of both categories went down 6% in unit, and 18% in value, and 22% in unit and 11% in value, respectively.

On the 2019 survey, both categories came with extraordinary results, dramatically low level of overseas production, while domestic production surged between 8 times and 50 times depending on items over the previous year. Since 2020 overseas and domestic production reverted to the close level of 2018 survey, it’s likely some manufacturers reported wrong figures in the 2019 survey.

Remarkable 17 times increase of cabled microphones

The figures tell increased demands for DAWs, microphones for online music lesson, and purchase of new mixers and interface during the lockdown.
Domestic shipment of cabled microphone jumped up 1,684% in unit and 324% in value. The same went for mixers (222% in unit, and 139% in value), sound cards & related hardware (129% in unit and 146% in value)
Significant decline of hand-held recorders in 2020 may reflect no report from some influential manufacturers.
※Full 2020 Manufacturers Survey appears on October issue of Japan Music Trades.

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