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September 09, 2020 04:11 PM

Music Retailers Report: Demands Grew During Lockdown

Music retail business was hard hit as COVID-19 spread throughout the spring school season. After the declaration of a state of emergency lifted in the middle of May, music retailers slowly returned to business and in-store music lesson resumed in June. Customers began visiting music stores.

Great number of people have found pleasure of music making during lockdown, and demands sharply grew for fun-oriented casual type musical instruments. Seasoned musicians sought out gears for music production and streaming from home studio.

Japan Music Trades sent a questionnaire to 133 music dealers throughout Japan asking their business environment 5 months later the pandemic. 77 out of the total responded. Here is a report what happed to the music retailers and how they coped in the difficult times. We appreciate very much their commitment to our survey.

45% of music dealers reported sales and store traffic went down from June through July, and 88% replied the lockdown contributed to generate substantial demands for musical instruments and sound production system.

What did people buy during self-isolation?
1. Acoustic guitars (53 stores)
2. Digital pianos (44 stores)
3. Ukuleles (39 stores)
4. Electronic keyboards (22 stores)
5. DAW & streaming gears (16 stores)
6. Digital drums (13 stores)
7. Acoustic pianos (12 stores)
8. Electric guitars (12 stores)

Price points of purchase (all instruments)
up to 50,000yen 87
Up to 100,000yen 41
Up to 200,000yen 36
Up to 500,000yen 31
Up to 10,000yen 27
Over 1 mil. yen 7
Up to 1 mil. yen 6

Acoustic pianos
Over 1 mil. yen 4
Up to 1 million yen 3
Up to 500,000 yen 3

Digital pianos
Up to 200,000yen 21
Up to 100,000 yen 16
Up to 500,000 yen 15
Up to 50,000 yen 6
Up to 1 mil. yen 1

Acoustic guitars
Up to 50,000 yen 52
Up to 100,000 yen 16
Up to 200,000 yen 3
Up to 10,000 yen 3
Up to 500,000 yen 2

Ukuleles
Up to 10,000 yen 11
Up to 50,000 yen 7
Up to 200,000 yen 1

Electric guitars
Up to 50,000 yen 4
Up to 100,000 yen 2

Digital drums
Up to 200,000 yen 3
Up to 100,000 yen 2
Up to 50,000 yen 1

DAW & streaming gears
Up to 50,000 yen 10

What did the music dealers focus most between April and July?
・Over 20 times of product lines listed on EC site than the same period of the previous year. (one dealer in Aichi Pref.) Some dealers also reported excellent EC business thanks to enhanced and redesigned websites.
・Enhanced or newly started online music lessons. (20 dealers out of 77)
While some dealers were satisfied with the results, not a few dealers commented that only limited number of students had taken online lesson in preference to onsite lesson. The dealers also reported difficulties in promoting online lesson as students’ digital environment at home is different, or luck of skills of instructors.
・Introduced web meetings. One dealer reported It helped communicate better with studio staff.
・Increased production of sales promotional video, sales and technical training for staff and reviewed online product listings.
・Provided online workshops. Demands grew as they were recognized.
・Enhanced online store site to connect the real-world shop. A performance video streaming campaign on SNS drew more than expected 300 postings. Held a special sale during June through July as online store redesigned, and it generated 8 million yen sales a month selling as many as 140 different items.
・ Increased store information and products sold online so that customers can contact and buy instruments and accessories anytime. Customer response was positive.
・Started distribution through 3rd party online marketplace, and it contributed to explore new markets in much distant areas.
・Enhanced website listing carefully selected high-quality merchandise as it assures users no-nonsense purchase at home.
・Introduced online sales marketing using Zoom at key stores in May. It’s hard to verify the effect since the declaration of a state of emergency lifted soon.
・Web reservation for tryout of piano was well accepted. Keeping social distance, business closed successfully in many cases. It could be continued after the society returns to normal.

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