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Q3 Retail Report: Hurricanes Irma and Harvey Impact Sales

...with more than 40" of rain. Texas is the second largest market for the music industry with 277 music stores. Two weeks later, Hurricane Irma forced mass evacuations of Florida and left the state with estimated damages in excess of $62 billion. The disruption and damage caused by the storm dramatically curbed sales for the 283 music stores in the state.

For the quarter ended September 30, music retailers in this region reported an overall decline of 4.9%. This decline was offset by generally strong conditions nationwide, contributing to an overall 3.5% increase in sales at music stores for the latest quarter. During this recent reporting period, the digital divide continues with online retailers reporting sales increases averaging 9.1% compared to increases at brick and mortar retailers of 2.0%. Dealers reporting to this quarterly survey indicated online revenue accounted for 36% of total sales activity.

Third-quarter results are always an important barometer for measuring interest in school music programs across the nation. This year, dealers servicing the school music market reported record results, up 5.2% from the year-earlier period. One dealer from Georgia indicated that sales growth was a direct result of increased advocacy for music programs and growing interest among students.

Retailers selling fretted instruments had a strong quarter with sales advancing 4%. Spotty availability of product as a result of new CITES rosewood regulations has eased compared to the first two quarters of the year. This, along with strong demand for higher price point instruments, helped drive the most recent sales gain. A common observation revolves around the resilience of the ukulele market with many retailers stating, “Ukuleles are going up, up, up!”

The sound reinforcement category, the largest tracked in this sales report, rose 4.1% during the quarter. “Trust in the economy and lack of a presidential election were key to increased sales and activity during the quarter,” reported a dealer in New York City.

Home keyboard retailers reported a modest uptick led by a 4.6% increase in digital pianos. “Institutional sales is where we see the activity with acoustic pianos,” remarked a dealer from Spokane, Washington. “Not just the big music schools, but we’re seeing increased business at the K-12 level.” Declining sales of acoustic pianos show no sign of slowing according to a dealer from Columbus, Ohio who said, “It’s a wide open field with digitals and hybrid pianos; we see a great opportunity with these products.” Other results included: grand pianos -1.0%; vertical pianos -.5%; portable keyboards +3.8%; home organs -1.5%; and church organs -3.2%.

Results of other product categories tracked in this report include: instrument amplifiers +3.5%; electronic music products +2.7%; percussion products +.5%; recording products +2.2%; printed music -2.2%; and accessories +6.5%.

For complete Q3 retail sales data, order the report today!

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