If you’re interested in learning more about ukulele sales statistics and other interesting data about this unique instrument, you’ve come to the right post!
Please note that this article has updated data through 2021!
US Retail Ukulele Sales Information
Every year, Music Trades publishes detailed music industry data.
This music industry census, as they call it, has been the go-to piece of data in the music industry for several years.
In fact, Music Trades has been publishing data since the 1890s!
In light of the work I do on this blog, I decided to unpack some of that data in this post!
And in this section, I thought I’d take a look at US retail ukulele sales.
As you can see from the chart above, ukulele sales in the US have been on a generally upward trend in the past decade.
To be specific, ukulele sales growth increased steadily from 2009 to 2012.
And then after a couple of slower years in 2013 and 2014, sales picked back up from 2015 to 2018.
Then again, sales stagnated a bit in 2019 and 2020.
But in 2021, ukulele sales rocketed up to over $140,000,000!
Although ukulele sales were the strongest they’ve ever been, the chart below helps put this growth in perspective.
This chart shows the percentage growth (or decline) in dollar sales value compared to the previous year.
So although 2021 was a strong year for sales growth, there have certainly been other years with stronger growth.
However, to get a more complete picture of the ukulele industry in the US, we need to look at more than just sales numbers.
Number of Ukuleles Sold in the US
Looking at the number of ukuleles sold instead of the dollar value of ukulele sales reveals some interesting facts.
For instance, unit sales of ukuleles actually peaked in 2018 at 1,765,000.
And although 2021 was a strong year with 1,706,050 ukes sold, apparently unit sales volume hasn’t reached a new peak yet.
Again, we can look at this through the lens of percentage growth and see a different side of this data.
As mentioned, 2021’s unit sales growth was strong.
But it still needed to make up for two years of shrinking numbers of ukuleles sold.
And if the number of ukes sold wasn’t at its peak but the sales volume was, then we know that ukuleles’ prices must have been increasing in the past decade.
Average Ukulele Sales Price in the Past Decade
With the number of units sold and the total sales volume, it’s not hard to back into the average ukulele sales price.
And that’s exactly what we’re looking at in this section.
In the above graph, you can see the average sales price of a ukulele has generally increased over the years.
This isn’t a surprise.
Thanks to inflation, most prices increase over time.
But the ukulele is still a very competitively priced instrument with prices hovering between ~$65 and ~$83 in the past decade plus.
For reference, the average unit price of an acoustic guitar in 2021 was $590!
That’s over 7 times more expensive than the 2021 average unit price of $83 for a ukulele!
Thus, it’s no surprise that the ukulele is often the instrument of choice for schools and other music education settings.
Has the average ukulele sales price kept up with inflation?
With inflation in the news a lot recently, you may be wondering if ukulele prices have kept up with inflation.
As you can see in the above graph, the average price of a ukulele has varied a lot more compared to the inflation rate.
In fact, the average price of a ukulele has gone down significantly in some years whereas we rarely see deflation in the US.
Regardless, an easier way to see whether ukulele prices have kept up with inflation is to look at the average ukulele price as if it had gone up by the inflation rate compared to the real average price of a ukulele each year.
This is what I’ve done in the graph below.
To get the figures in the graph above, I took the average ukulele sales price in 2009 of $66 and increased it by the 2010 inflation rate.
Then I took that number and increased by the next year’s inflation rate and so on to get the estimated price as shown by the red columns in the graph above.
Using this methodology, the average ukulele sales price outpaced inflation from 2010 to 2015.
Then inflation caught up with and surpassed the real ukulele sales price from 2016 to 2019.
And in 2021, the real average ukulele sales price still hasn’t caught up with what I estimate the price should be based on inflation.
Wholesale vs Retail Ukulele Sales
Until now, I’ve mostly looked at US retail sales data related to ukuleles.
But looking at wholesale data reveals some interesting information as well.
You can see in the graph above the annual dollar value of ukulele purchases made by retailers compared to the annual dollar value of ukulele sales made by retailers.
And although there are fluctuations in amounts for both figures, the profit margin has remained remarkably stable at 37% every year shown in the graph above!
I hope this article has provided you with some useful industry data related to ukuleles!
And if you want to read more about the industry data for string instruments on this blog, then check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another string-instrument-related topic!