If you’re looking for interesting guitar industry statistics and data, you’ve come to the right post!
With Guitar Center filing for bankruptcy, and young people seeming more interested in electronic dance music than the guitar today, I decided to dive into the statistics to see what’s really going on with the guitar market.
Here’s what I found.
Guitar Industry Statistics Indicate Growth
The good news is, guitar industry statistics indicate the market is growing!
As you can tell from the below graph, the US guitar market declined around the time of the financial crisis but has been growing since then.
Positive sales growth for guitars in the US is promising.
Furthermore, according to Fender’s research, 50% of aspirational and beginner players are women!
Historically, the guitar has been a male-dominated industry.
However, today, female-focused guitar brands like She Shreds have gained significant popularity.
Growth in the Context of Dying Retail
Many (myself included) assumed the guitar industry was dying due to failing retail guitar brands.
I already mentioned Guitar Center declaring bankruptcy, and Gibson filed for chapter 11 too.
However, these struggles seem more related to dying brick and mortars and growing online markets than because of waning interest in guitar.
This article from RollingStone magazine details some of the business failures that may have contributed to Guitar Center’s and Gibson’s financial problems outside of changes in the guitar market from the failure to capture new markets like female aspiring guitarists to expanding into industries where they weren’t prepared to compete.
However, guitar industry statistics indicate that not everything is roses in the guitar market.
I’ll break down some of its issues in the next section.
Acoustic Vs. Electric Guitar: Which Market is Growing?
In general, acoustic guitars have outsold electric guitars in the US since the financial crisis.
In the chart below, I’ve presented the same data as the chart above except this time highlighting the difference in acoustic versus electric guitar sales.
Electric guitar sales have recovered more slowly than acoustic guitar sales since the dip during the financial crisis.
And who knows if the electric guitar will ever regain its popularity over the acoustic guitar that it once had.
That said, the data on electric guitar sales doesn’t seem to indicate as grim an outlook as some articles would make you think like the Washington Post’s The Slow Secret Death of the Six String Electric.
In fact, the guitar market has been booming since COVID.
Guitar in a COVID and Post-COVID World
Many people took up hobbies in 2020 due to more at time home in light of the Coronavirus.
Apparently, learning guitar was one of these hobbies.
In fact, US guitar brand, Fender, and UK music brand, Gear4Music, both reported records sales in 2020.
Even Gibson has reported great sales numbers despite its financial trouble. source
In short, I believe the guitar industry and particularly the acoustic guitar industry has hope despite rumblings otherwise.
Guitar sales took a serious hit during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.
This makes sense in light of how guitar sales and lessons dwindle with a lack of discretionary income.
However, despite some financial distress in light of the Coronavirus, the guitar industry has thrived since then.
If you’re one of the many people with a recent interest in learning the guitar, check out my guide on how to get started learning this instrument.