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Imports Gain 4.4% For The Year

...12-month period, imports of amplifiers, speaker enclosures, and microphones advanced 17% to a record $2.3 billion compared to $1.9 billion in the same period one year ago. Those gains were offset by year-over-year declines in imports for most of the acoustic instrument categories including: Fretted Instruments -8.6%, school music products -8.5%, acoustic pianos -4.0%, and percussion products -19.4%.

Entry-level priced fretted instruments drove most of the decline in imports for the recent quarter and year. Higher-value acoustic guitar imports from Canada, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia were up 20% for the quarter and 6.9% for the year. Ukuleles, which posted double digit drops for the first three quarters of 2013, reversed course and jumped 5.9% in the fourth quarter. Declining imports of electric guitars also slowed to a modest 1.8% in the fourth quarter.

Grand Piano imports were just shy of 13,000 units for the year, a figure not seen since 2008. This category as measured by imports has bounced back 34% since bottoming out in 2009 at 9,701 units.  Vertical Piano imports declined 10.1% for the year from 21,070 units to 18,938 units. Imports of portable keyboards under $200 retail declined 19% in units for the year from 715,088 to 579,020. portable keyboards over $200 retail declined 8.2% last year from 363,035 units to 333,255.

Although imports of school music products declined 8.5% for the year to 903,935 units, the overall category is 43% higher than its low point of 631,000 units in 2009.

China continues to gain share as the largest producer of musical instruments and audio gear with nearly a 60% share of all imports to the United States, followed by Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan
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