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3 Trends that Will Shape the Musical Instrument Retail Industry in 2018

The $6 billion musical instrument retail industry has seen many changes in recent years. From technology advancements to changing consumer preferences, retailers have had to adapt to various industry transitions. Here are three recent trends that will continue to shape the musical instrument retail industry in 2018:

Changing Musical Tastes

Changing consumer preferences and musical tastes have led to a significant shift in merchandise waves in recent years. According to NAMM, sales of acoustic guitars have grown approximately 36 percent – or $141 million – since 2009. DJ gear, synthesizers and digital pianos are other products that have grown in market share since 2013.


Growing Instrument Resale Segment

During the past five years, competition among big-box musical instrument retailers created a price-competitive environment for larger stores. This brings with it plenty of opportunity for smaller retailers, especially within the resale segment. Experts predict growth within the industry will continue – especially as consumers enjoy more disposable income – but that the industry will shift in favor of instrument resale.

Despite a fairly healthy economy, consumers increasingly opt for lower-priced instruments – which are plentiful in resale. Others choose to purchase used instruments because of the wider variety of models and options available, or from a desire to make sustainable buying decisions. Nevertheless, the musical instrument resale segment is anticipated to experience higher demand than big-box retailers, who face mounting pressure to lower prices – stunting revenue growth.


Increasing Music Education in School Curriculum

The growing number of studies citing the benefits of music education are helping cement music’s place in our schools. One study indicated students who had experience with music performance scored 63 and 44 points higher on the verbal and math sections of the SAT, respectively.

In 2017, new arts standards defined by the National Core were adopted by 14 states and are expected to continue growing in popularity. These standards mark a significant development in arts education, allowing for a more holistic approach and emphasizing what each discipline has in common. These standards also developed a fifth discipline – media arts – which combines various arts with modern technology, such as music video production and graphic design. In short, the new standards allow educators more freedom in how they teach the arts, helping ensure music’s staying power in school curriculums.

The continuance of school music programs means continued demand for band instruments, as well as other instruments for mandatory music classes in public education. This is welcome news for musical instrument retailers, especially those that offer a cost-effective solution for school-wide, district-wide or other bulk purchases.

Although the musical instrument retail industry has evolved in recent years, these changes point toward different opportunities for growth. By keeping in line with changing consumer preferences and taking advantage of new arts-focused legislation and voluntary guidelines, musical instrument retailers stand to gain in the coming years.


Winmark’s Music Go Round® brand offers the perfect opportunity to become part of the exciting and growing musical instrument resale segment. If you’re interested in becoming part of the Winmark network of brands, visit our website or give us a call at (866) 595-0053.