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2020 Japanese Music Products Retail Market Survey
We much struggled with the pandemic in 2020. Covid-19 devastated almost all industries throughout the world. The music products industry was not an exception though some categories enjoyed unexpected sales growth brought by stay-at-home demands. School music education, extra-calicular band activities, music lessons and entertainment businesses all severely suffered. A terrible year it really was.
While customers came up to local music stores during the lockdown, business shift to EC accelerated. Also, marketing activities went online. Many social and economic changes occurred.
Japan Music Trades carried an annual retail music market survey, sending a questionnaire to 149 music retailers nationwide. 118 of them responded. We appreciate very much time and efforts they spent to meet our request during the unprecedented difficulties.
The 2020 music retail business was quite a somber one as 80% of the retailers reported sales decline. Given the social and economic obstacles, it is astounding that they are endeavoring to find the ways to increase communication online with customers, upgrading websites and seeking innovations in every aspect of business.
More than 80% report Sales decline
Among 113 retailers responded, 12% reported sales increase, 83% decrease and 5% no change. About the sales during the busiest year end/ new year season, 27% answered increase, 61% decrease and 12% no change.
Japanese music products industry was hard hit by COVID-19 after February, particularly after the Government declared a state of emergency in April, which new term starts in Japan. Music retailers were forced to temporarily close stores and music lesson studios. Stay-at-home demands pushed up sales of some types of musical instruments, but not enough to offset overall stagnant business.
Corona virus case began to increase again in larger cities in the latter half of November, which was followed by self-isolation from December through January, and the second declaration of a state of emergency.
Looking into sales by product category, only digital pianos, acoustic guitars, ukuleles and electronic keyboards increased, largely by the surged demands during work from home.
On the contrary, sales of grand and upright pianos, electronic organs, woodwind and brass instruments, violins and family instruments, drums, accessories and printed music decreased. Music lesson studio operations were also stagnant.
Sales of those categories as electric guitars, amps, effect processors, digital drums, other percussion instruments, keyboard synthesizers, digital equipment, DTM/DAW equipment, recording & PA system remained flat.
Which online marketplace and service do the retailers use?
1. Own website 75 retailers
2. Facebook 59 retailers
3. Twitter 50 retailers
4. Instagram 44 retailers
5. DigiMart 31 retailers
6. LINE 30 retailers
7. YouTube 30 retailers
8. Amazon 23 retailers
9. Rakuten 22 retailers
10. J-guitar.com 15 retailers
2021 business prospects
60% of the responded dealers replied business would be soft in 2021. Only 10% of them were positive about the business of this year. It is obvious that the business climate solely depends on development of workable medicines and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. During the pandemic, people rediscovered pleasure of music making. Once the society regains stability and confidence in life, hopefully their interest in music will last.
Not a few retailers commented that the industry can expect increasing opportunities to vitalize the market by collaboration with entities outside the industry, effective use of social media as well as offering music makers opportunities and stages to perform.