This is an excerpt from our upcoming Retail Trends Report that will be published in December. Please CLICK HERE to get on our mailing list for the full report:
Economic Trends for Retail Music Stores: Music stores selling instruments, sheet music and supplies are experiencing industry consolidation where category dominant retailers are pushing independents out of the market. A large percentage of sales is going to lower priced and imported products. Chains like Guitar Center are dominating many markets.
Independent stores must rely on high end quality equipment, repair services, music lessons, equipment rental and personalized service. There are still a large number of independents in the market. These stores can survive but must have a significant competitive advantage. Quality, service and expertise are the critical components of competitive advantage.
The Internet has been a big competitor. Customers find the product they want in the store, try it out and then go to the Internet to find the best price. Even band instruments are now being rented online. However, on the upper end of the market musicians still want to touch and feel the product they buy. They want to know the person standing behind the product and know where to go with service issues or a return. They are willing to pay for the extra service.
There has been a significant segment of the business in used equipment. This is a market niche that can be developed by an experienced independent operator.
The last five years have been especially tough for music stores. Annual growth has been negative. Part of the problem has been the recession but a decline in young buyers has also been a problem. As the economy improves business should get better.
How to Close a Music Store- Video