Study: Vinyl Sales Up 27% During COVID

Is it time to put that turntable back into your product mix? Probably! Consumers are continuing to gravitate to vinyl with the COVID-19 spurring the trend rapidly. According to a study from MusicWatch, vinyl album sales grew an astonishing 27% during the pandemic, with 18 million consumers aged 13 and over buying vinyl in 2021. Even more importantly, one out of every three owners of a turntables intends to upgrade their audio gear this year.

Those are just some of the highlights from a study by MusicWatch, a U.S. research and analytics company serving the music industry for nearly a quarter of a century. It unveiled a first-of-its-kind study conducted in cooperation with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Music Business Association. 

The study, titled Revelations About the Vinyl Revolution, offers a detailed look at the current state of the vinyl record market; as well as the preferences and predispositions of the purchasers and listeners to this classic format.

Led by former NPD executive Russ Crupnick, MusicWatch has produced syndicated and custom market research solutions for a variety of customers, including the major music labels, digital service providers and technology companies.  Over the years, the scope of MusicWatch’s work has grown to encompass virtually every significant music development from the impact of P2P piracy to the evolution of paid streaming services.

Their latest study, which was conducted between March 7th and 31st, surveyed nearly 1,400 consumers across the U.S. in nearly every lifestyle segment, including both the general population and vinyl enthusiasts. 

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It examines not just the tendencies of vinyl consumers but their psychographic behavior as well, including their approach to the vinyl purchasing process; their orientation towards sound quality and packaging and how this helps to drive interest in the product category; plus their interaction with other vinyl enthusiasts via social media; and more.

The MusicWatch findings offer a number of keen insights concerning the overall awareness of vinyl and its effect on music fans across the buying spectrum, including the following:

An estimated 18 million consumers aged 13 and older purchased vinyl during 2021, a 27% increase over a significantly COVID-impacted  2020.

Among buyers of vinyl over the past two years, 71% purchased new records and 67% bought used ones.  And 95% of vinyl buyers expect to continue purchasing the format in the coming year.

More than one in three buyers (38%) have been purchasing vinyl for more than 10 years and value the authenticity and “warmth” that vinyl records deliver.  Those who began buying more recently also appreciate vinyl’s sound quality, along with the packaging, features and artwork that are part of the vinyl experience.  Plus the number of artists embracing vinyl influences these newer buyers as well.

Collecting vinyl is also quite popular. 16% of purchasers buy records strictly to own them, while 21% buy them to collect and listen to.

Additionally vinyl records have a positive impact on hardware sales. One out of three turntable owners and users say that they intend to upgrade their record player or other audio equipment next year.

Vinyl buyers are also engaged in not just vinyl records, but a wide range of music listening and purchasing options, including the latest digital streaming platforms.

According to Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, “This landmark research conducted by MusicWatch underscores the unique role that vinyl records are playing today. The report shows that vinyl helps fans support and connect with artists and the music they love in both old ways and new.”

Portia Sabin, President of The Music Business Association also states: “Our organization was pleased to support MusicWatch in its research efforts.  The members of our Physical Business Action Committee worked closely with Russ and his team to help promote more awareness about vinyl record retailers in general and their impact on their communities.”

This exclusive MusicWatch vinyl study comes on the eve of the music industry’s annual Record Store Day which will be held on April 23 this year. The unique event brings both indie record store and major retail customers together to celebrate the overall record collecting and music listening experience.

As the MusicWatch study points out, 60% of vinyl buyers are aware of Record Store Day and more than half of them plan to visit a physical shop or online site during that time.

The Revelations About the Vinyl Revolution study will be available on May 5.  For more information, please contact Russ@MusicWatchInc.com.

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