Analysis: How COVID-19 Impacted Musical Instrument Sales Online

The past year has seen Americans picking up all sorts of new hobbies and interests. Months spent sheltering in place made sourdough starters all the rage, houseplants and DIY projects dominated social media feeds, and pandemic puppies became a new buzzword (read our analysis: the Purchasing Patterns of Pet Owners).

But were Americans also interested in picking up a more demanding skill like learning to play a musical instrument?

To celebrate National Buy a Musical Instrument Day, and because we love digging into the data to uncover new ecommerce trends, we did a deep dive into online sales for musical instruments and accessories: Which musical instruments experience the most online demand? Which ones saw the biggest bump right after lockdowns last year? What were the long-term effects of COVID-19 on musical instrument sales?

Our data science team analyzed market demand for musical instruments and accessories in 2019 and 2020 to find out the answer to these questions and more.

Which musical instruments were the most popular on Amazon in 2020?

Before diving deep into the data, we started by comparing the major types of musical instruments on Amazon. Here’s a list of the instruments in our analysis and the total demand each received in 2020:

The piano may be the most commonly played instrument in America, but it’s no surprise that on Amazon it’s the guitar that reigns supreme. The guitar is so popular that it received 87% more demand than the rest of the instruments in our analysis combined.

The piano (which for our analysis includes keyboards) received the next most demand, while drums received the third most.

Ukuleles were a strong fourth place, as you might expect people are far more willing to purchase a ukulele online than a more specialized or advanced instrument.

How did COVID-19 impact market demand for guitars?

As the chart above suggests, demand is likely to be extremely different depending on which musical instrument you examine. But since guitars represented such a massive slice of the pie, we decided to start first by examining demand for guitars throughout 2020.

Here’s what we found:

Initially, COVID-19 appears to have had a negative impact on demand for guitars. Demand plummeted in early March during the uncertain early days of the pandemic. By the week of March 22, as Americans began to understand the implications of a future sheltering in place, demand rebounded sharply.

Demand for guitars then settled to consistent levels before reaching their highest levels during the holiday shopping season.

The chart above shows that there was a clear impact in the early weeks of the pandemic, but to even better understand the overall impact of COVID-19 we’ll need to compare 2020 to the previous year:

Monthly demand for guitars started the year high, with demand in January 2020 37% higher than January of 2019. And it’s here where you can see even clearer evidence that many Americans decided early quarantine was a perfect time to learn to play the guitar.

Demand stayed higher than in 2019 throughout the entire year, though the boost clearly waned as the year went on, with December’s demand only outpacing December 2019 by 2%.

How did COVID-19 impact market demand for musical instruments?

After seeing how COVID-19 impacted the instrument with the highest demand, we next wanted to see if other instruments experienced similar trends.

First, we took demand for the months of March and April 2020 and compared them to the same months in 2019 to see which instruments got the biggest “quarantine bumps.”

According to our analysis, the ukulele was by far the most popular early quarantine musical instrument. Demand in March and April last year was 66% higher than in 2019. A cheap, fun, and comparatively simple instrument, it’s pandemic popularity is no surprise.

The guitar got the next largest boost, followed by the piano, and then far more surprisingly, the harp got the fourth largest early-pandemic boost.

Not all instruments in our analysis had a better March and April in 2020 than in 2019, though. Trombones and violas both saw demand drop by 27% in those months. Trumpets and saxophones also saw demand dip in that timeframe.

But, as we saw in the monthly year-over-year chart for guitars, the early-pandemic bump only tells part of the story. So we next compared total demand for all of 2020 to total demand for all of 2019 to determine the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on each instrument.

Most of the instruments in our analysis experienced an early-pandemic bump, but here we can see COVID-19 had a negative long-term effect on most of the instruments in our analysis.

Guitars, pianos (and keyboards), ukuleles, harps, and drums all experienced more demand in 2020 than in 2019, but the rest of the instruments in our analysis saw demand fall last year.

A possible explanation is that instruments well-suited for self-teaching at home did well in 2020, but those more associated with traditional in-school learning environments (like High School band class, etc.) suffered long-term.

For an even clearer picture, let’s take a look at the monthly year-over-year comparison for some of the most impacted instruments. First, here are the instruments who saw the biggest increase in demand:

Each instrument started the year strong before seeing demand surge in April. Demand for pianos and guitars remained slightly above 2019’s through the end of the year, while drum and ukulele demand settled to just under 2019.

Here’s how 2020 looked for the instruments that experienced the biggest decreases in demand:

2020 started strong for these instruments as well, but their demand plummeted in April and never really recovered.

The lack of an early pandemic bump makes sense as someone’s far more likely to decide to teach themself how to play the guitar while on lockdown than they would the trombone.

The lack of any recovery and the dip in August during the back-to-school shopping season, meanwhile, lends further evidence to our theory that distance learning has had a severe impact on demand for specialized musical instruments.

How did COVID-19 impact market demand for musical accessories?

We’ve learned that last year saw people more likely to want to buy a new guitar or ukulele, and far less likely to buy a new trombone or viola, but what about musical supplies? To close out our analysis, we examined data for musical accessories. Here’s what we found:

Strings and tuning supplies both experienced a modest increase in demand in the early days of the pandemic shutdown, but both pale in comparison to the run on rosin. Demand for rosin shot up by 79% in April 2020 compared to April 2019, and increased even higher to a 91% increase in May.

It appears that string musicians felt adequately stocked up by the summer, though, as demand fell to normal levels for the rest of the year.

Drumsticks, meanwhile, saw demand fall from above 2019 levels early in the pandemic and never recovered.

A lesson for brands

Musical instruments are popular year-round, but our data shows that COVID-19 has impacted some types of instruments far differently than others.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we may see demand for certain types of instruments quickly rebound as schools begin to resume in-person learning, while other types of instruments may see demand decline after 2020’s surges.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)