What is Happening?

Until earlier this year the outlook looked pretty gloomy for guitar retailers and manufacturers. Famous brands like Gibson, had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 and the sector was facing some ugly prospects.

But a recent report in The New York Times has revealed an incredible turnaround due to COVID-19, with guitar sales now soaring on the back of demand from young and often female consumers.

“We’ve broken so many records," Andy Mooney, CEO of Fender said. “It will be the biggest year of sales volume in Fender history, record days of double-digit growth, e-commerce sales and beginner gear sales. I never would have thought we would be where we are today if you asked me back in March.”

Nearly 20% of these newcomers were aged under 24, and 70% were under 45. Female customers accounted for 45% of the new wave, compared with 30% before the pandemic.

What Does it Mean?

For Gibson CEO James Curleigh, the trend suggests there are deeper psychological currents at play as people are forced to adapt to the new circumstances forced on them by COVID-19.

“First, we were figuring out the basic essentials – where to buy toilet paper, making sure you were isolated in quarantine." Then it appeared that once the essentials were satisfied, consumers were looking for new hobbies.

📈 Alongside physical guitar sales, companies are also benefitting from online teaching services. According to Fender, its guitar-instruction app saw its user base surge from 150,000 to 930,000 between late March and late June. In a similar trend to Nike's NTC running and home workout app, there seems to be a strong connection between physical goods being augmented by online experiences.

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