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March 16, 2021 9:14 AM

2019 JMIA Music Products Retail Sales Survey

Japan Musical Instruments Association has recently completed retail sales of music products from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. JMIA sent out a questionnaire to 344 music retailer members throughout Japan, and 114 retailers responded. Total sales of 114 music retailers in 2019 were 78,418,653 yen.

Please take note that the 2019 retail sales data can not be simply compared with the data of the last couple of years because the retailers joined in the survey differ from year to year. JMIA had commissioned the survey to Japan Economic Research Institute in the past. For the 2019 survey, Tomoaki Tanaka, associate professor of Tokyo Keizai University undertook the task.

The 2019 data excludes product categories including PA systems, microphones, signal processors and recording equipment. And categories of other keyboard instruments and other musical instruments are listed as ‘cembali and harpsichords’ and ‘musical instruments with reeds and others’, respectively.

Pianos (including acoustic and digital pianos, automatic player pianos and used pianos)
A TV program “Station (Airport) Piano” apparently helped boost sales of the category. It featured an upright piano placed in a certain railway station or airport waiting area offered passers by for free use. In 2019 various media spotlighted the program, and it made a topic. 2 Years earlier in 2017 fall, Yamaha began a campaign, “LovePiano” in Japan. Obviously, the Station (Airport) Piano program inspired experienced pianists to play piano again, and students to continue their study, creating synergy effect to the sales of Yamaha pianos.

Grand pianos sold well. It is attributed some parts to the marketing strategies of piano dealers who have actively carried in-store consumer experience events recent years. Those prime models including Yamaha C3X, C1X, Kawai SK-3 and SK-2 achieved good sales during the year. While, consumer demands for used pianos remained strong.

Sales of digital pianos grew thanks to new models at reasonable price range put into the market during the year. Used digital pianos adaptive to online sales also sold well.

Organs and portable keyboards (including electronic organs and school model organs)
2019 was 60th anniversary for Electone. Yamaha celebrated the mile stone with massive events for organists and general music fans. Yamaha’s top line STAGEA continues to attract interest of players with upgrade capabilities providing replaceable and additional units. Demands were also high for used models.

Sales of keyboards with standard-size keys were much favored as casual and enjoyable instruments for senior players. Rich teaching aids and other helpful functions of portable keyboards at affordable price seemingly fulfilled their desire for making music.

Wind and stringed instruments (including brass, woodwind and violin-family instruments)
Retail price of wind instruments went up in general last year. While consumer taste remained high for expensive advanced models, demands for entry-level instruments were also brisk, which explains the market is polarized to two opposite ends.
Flutes and saxophones continued to grow largely by expanding demands from adult music makers. The healthy market is attributed to concerted market development and music promotional activities by music retailers providing regular free instrument inspection, consultation services, invitation to free instrument experimentation, clinics and mini concerts.

Understanding necessity of keeping instruments in good condition, music retailers are serving customers with professional level technical services which connect retailers and customers and generate confidence. Replacement needs of parts and accessories also contributed to increase sales.

Excellent sales of packaged string instrument for first time players contributed to healthy growth of string instruments category. Hit TV program “You and Me on the G String” helped increase string players. Further growth of wind and string instruments market much relies on how the industry can raise adult music makers.

Guitars (including acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, amps and effect processors)
Total sales of this category decreased nearly 10% in value and unit, but average unit price slightly increased.
Acoustic guitar sales rose 26% in unit, and 28% in value. On the contrary, those of electric guitars and basses which represent 45% of the category went down about 20% both in unit and value over the previous year. Given that average unit price rose and strong demands continued for standard and high-end models, sales of entry level models might have lacked luster.

The same went with used guitars. Acoustic guitars marked outstanding sales. It’s expected net sales of used guitars by individuals and cross-border trades will further accelerate.
Sales of guitar and bass amps ended in a peculiar result with significant increase in unit, and inconsiderable decrease in value. Declining trend continued for effect processors, tuners, guitar and bass strings which reflects consumer’s increasing choice of buying on the net.

As explained at the beginning, year-to-year comparison of this data is not logical, but sales of ukuleles dropped in unit and value, a reverse trend from the years back.

Percussions (including drumkits, marching drums, educational percussions, xylophones, glockenspiels, digital drums, cajons, sticks and hardware)
Total sales of percussion went down 50% in unit and 62% in value in 2019. However, drumkits sales in unit jumped up. Given that sales of drumkits as well as snare, tom and other single unit drums have been in down trend for years, the background of this sudden surge of drumkits is hard to explain.
Sales of digital drums which share 39% of the category went down both in unit and value.

Among the items reported slow sales, sticks and mallets kept relatively good performance. Educational percussion notably declined largely affected by internet sales.

Japanese traditional instruments (including shamisens, kotos and Japanese taiko drums)
Demands grew reflecting growing popularity for Japanese traditional instruments band and young artists using the instruments of this category. These instruments share only 0.1% of the total percussion, and nearly half of the sales come from shinobues and shakuhachis at reasonable price. It suggests there exist a small number of entry level users.

Digital musical instruments (including keyboard and wind synthesizers)
This category dramatically advanced with 183% increase in unit and 37% increase in value. Given that unit price of wind synthesizers notably dropped, and the skeptic growth of the total category, it is conceived that not all segments of the category achieved excellent performance in the year. Upward trend continued for music production-related device and tools.

Sales of keyboard synthesizers went down in unit and value. The market trend was felt in both ends i.e, entry level and high-end products.

Other musical instruments (including harmonicas, melodicas, accordions, recorders, ocarinas, etc.)
This category is listed as instruments with reeds and others in the 2019 survey. Sales of harmonicas, melodicas, accordions, recorders and ocarinas slightly went up supported by demands of adult players. Educational harmonicas, melodicas, accordions and recorders have been in downturn trend for years as the number of school-age children is declining.

Printed music
Total sales decreased 5% in unit, and 24% in value over the previous year. Average unit price declined to 1,600 yen from 2,100 yen a year ago. Such hit tunes including “Lemon”, “Marigold” and “Paprika” were released last year, and consumer purchased those tunes largely in type of single sheet music rather than songbooks. That may have caused decline of average unit price.

Self-teach books for piano, guitar and ukulele are likely bought by senior music makers at brick and mortal music stores, but not online.

2019 Music products Retail Sales Survey – data of 114 music retailers (in thousand yen)
1 Pianos 24,622,144
2 Guitars 23,427,678
3 Wind instruments 12,315,090
4 Printed music 5,911,705
5 String instruments 3,150,725
6 Percussions 2,312,429
7 Organs 1,635,257
8 Digital musical instruments 1,613,896
9 Musical instruments with reeds and others 1,583,338
10 Ukuleles 1,057,858
11 Portable keyboards 723,905
12 Japanese traditional musical instruments 58,930
13 Cembali and harpsichords 5,698

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