Drumming up Business
As with most segments of the MI trade – and the consumer market overall – percussion sales are feeling the pinch of a highly unstable economy. Interestingly, however, in this recent MMR poll of percussion retailers, there was greater parity than one might have expected when folks reported their overall sales in 2008 compared to 2007 (Level: 33%, Up: 31%, Down: 36%). Merchants are drawing upon increased traffic in accessory purchases, exploring more specialized niche markets such as vintage instrument sales, and paying even closer attention to the interests and needs of their customers in order to thrive.
What is the most significant recent trend you have noticed in the percussion market?
People are definitely settling for less and basing purchases even more on price and value. High-end set sales are representing much less of overall business for us. People are much less brand-oriented and really want the most bang for their hard-earned dollar. There are too many “custom” drum makers out there right now – it’s almost passé to play a custom kit, I think. I predict it’ll be “cool” to have an established, name-brand kit here very soon. With custom kits, the emphasis is on who can glue the craziest things to the shells rather than the sound and functionality. It’s reached over-saturization.
Colorado Drum & Percussion, Inc.
Fort Collins, Colo.
With our emphasis on the student market, we are noticing the results of the economic situation are causing new students to purchase more entry-level models and less mid-level.
Birmingham Percussion Center
Are your numbers up or down, compared to last year?
I thought last year was pretty soft, but this year is even softer. I hate to say it, but this has been the softest year of sales since I have been here at the shop, to my memory. I don’t think it has anything to do with the manufacturers. The quality of product by these guys is at an all-time high. Everyone is making nice stuff. It’s simply the economy of the country, possibly the world.
Long Island Drum Center
Things are very much up now with sales, as we walked away from almost all of our new lines. Not much in new drums – if a customer can buy the product any place online for cost, why bother? Let the catalogs and Web retailers kill ‘em all off. Only vintage sets and repairs work really well for us. It is really nice to be making money again.
What level of product is selling best?
What are hot colors and finishes?
What percussion accessories are moving?
What’s your best selling percussion accessory, overall?
Do you hold drum clinics/workshops?
This is a tough, highly competitive market that switches trends in an instant. It’s increasingly difficult to stay ahead of what’s cool for next year. It’s nice to have companies like Mapex and Meinl that not only follow trends, but also set a standard of cool that customers want to be around and be a part of.
Auburn Guitar Shoppe
Be sure to carry what your customers want and always have those items in stock.
Sales go in cycles for us: there are times when it’s boom-boom-boom and very busy; then there are times when we find ourselves dusting off product frequently.
Don Banks Music