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Q1 Import Tracker: Rosewood Rules Hit Guitar Imports

...were down 8.9%. Electric guitars suffered a similar decline during the period, falling 24.5% to 205,922 units compared to 273,007 in 2016. Imports of ukuleles advanced 7.7% to 268,152 units, a figure that should have been dramatically higher if distributors had not had shipment delays caused by the new CITES rosewood regulations.

Imports of school music products eclipsed last year’s all-time first quarter record by 4.6%. For the three-month period, imports of brasswinds (-.5%), clarinets (+2.6%), saxophones (+8.4%), flutes (+15.5%) and stringed instruments (+4.1%)  totaled 219,217 units. The figure has jumped 36% in the last ten years. China-based manufacturers’ share of the import market expanded during the quarter to 79% compared to 73% in 2016.

Imports of drums rebounded again, rising 14.9% compared to 2016. Cymbal imports declined 3.8% with imports from Canada declining 11.8%, offset by a 42% gain from Germany.

Electronic keyboards posted sizeable gains during the quarter. Synthesizers were up 49% to 25,357 units compared to 16,988 in 2016, 19,439 in 2015, and 18,786 in 2014. Portable keyboards that retail under $200 rose 29.5% to 125,057 units, while higher-priced portables dropped 2.2% to 60,718 units.

Imports of higher-priced studio pianos rose 82% during the quarter, driving an overall 9.1% increase in vertical pianos. Combining that with a 17.9% decline for grand pianos, overall piano imports dropped just 2% to 6,924 units compared to 7,066 in the year-earlier period.

The total professional audio category jumped 22% as measured in dollars, from $465,924,345 to $566,300,557.


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