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Electric Guitars Surge 35% In Q4

...in imports for this industry that have not been seen for two years. While import figures do not reflect actual retail sell-through for the fourth quarter, they do suggest that manufacturers are responding to a bullish selling environment that saw a noticeable pickup since the November Presidential election.

Electric guitar imports advanced 35.2% to 489,408 units during the three-month period. This figure all but erased declines in the previous three quarters and represents the first significant increase for electric guitar imports since 2007. Acoustic guitars (<$299 retail) advanced 4.4%, the first quarterly increase since early 2015. Higher priced acoustic guitars (>$299 retail) fell 18.3% for the quarter, led by a 17.6% decline from producers in Mexico. Ukulele imports rose a strong 26% for the quarter, bringing the total annual volume to 1,389,189 units.

School music imports logged another significant volume for the quarter with total imports registering 215,878 units compared to 216,321 units in the same period one year ago. For the year, total imports dropped 7.9% to 914,701 units. Manufacturers based in China continue to gain share, accounting for 88% of all imports.

Portable keyboards have been a staple in the industry for three decades and show no signs of slowing down. Lower priced portables (<$200) increased 51% while higher priced units (>$200) rose 28%.

Imports of professional audio gear stand near record highs with imports totaling $2.5 billion for the quarter. That figure is down 1.8% from the same period in 2015.

Acoustic pianos recorded an overall 6.2% decline in units for the quarter, falling to 7,015 units compared to 7,472 units in 2015. For the year, total imports stand at 26,946 units, down 9.3% from 29,699 in 2015.

For complete Q4 import data, order the report here.

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