Survey: Rhythm Nation
Hokey, NY Post-style subhead (above) not withstanding, the results from our recent survey of drum and percussion dealers truly was more suggestive of the need to keep fighting for sales in a tough economy than any MMR retailer poll of late.
With the bulk of folks reporting sales down or flat in 2011 compared in ’10, it was obvious from the start that this survey – sent to over 200 MI dealers – wasn’t going to make for the most uplifting of reports. High points? Accessories, hand percussion, and smaller, all-inclusive kits seem to be going strong. Confusing points? More people seem to be stocking electronic drums than when we ran a cover feature on those products two years ago, but… those who carry electronic drums say sales are down compared to 2010, but… some of those very same dealers noted that those instruments were among the bright spots in their overall drum & percussion picture. All right, then… Low points? Essentially without exception, “the economy” continues to be the most oft-heard area of concern.
Many retailers, however, pointed to signs that the upcoming holiday season could be strong. Scott Apted of Gear Music in Oakville, Ontario (in Canada, eh?), said, “I hope sales in drums increase. Christmas is coming, so we will probably do well with entry-level kits.” He further theorized: “I think drum sells are an ebb and flow: they seem to really dip for a while and all the advanced drummers use their drums, then they feel the need to buy new, better drums and sales go up. It has been a long drought this time, though!”
Drums & percussion are currently a tumultuous and hard to read piece of the MI pie, seemingly. Perhaps Jeffrey Van Gorder of Imagineering Drum & Guitar Shop in Little Falls, N.Y. has landed upon a philosophy most appropriate to the present-day climate. In response to the survey question, “Expectations for the coming months?” Van Gorder replied, “None. If you have no expectations you won’t have any disappointments.”
What trends have you been noticing in drums and percussion?
“Used and consignment [gear] is becoming a bigger part of overall sales.”
San Mateo, Calif.
“There is a buzz lately about electronic drums – unusually more than in previous years – but the trend in my opinion is for hip sizes and colors, and usually an all inclusive package, meaning a kit with cymbals and hardware. And definitely acoustic [sales] account for more than electronic.”
Long Island Drum Center of Nyack
“Drum sales have been very quiet for a few years now. They did come up slightly in January, but then dipped again. We have been selling more entry-level electronic kits lately.”
Oakville, Ontario, CANADA
“[Potential customers] can buy anything cheaper on the Internet than we seem able to buy from the manufacturers.”
Don Banks Music
“Classic Wood grains are back in demand, less sparkle finishes. Exotic percussion (djembes, cajons, et cetera) are on fire. Price points are moving up in all categories”
Westlake Village, Calif.
“Smaller kits are getting more popular. Yamaha and Tama now have a decent Bop birch kit… affordable and good quality.”
Daddy’s Junky Music
Expectations for the coming months?
“It was a slow September – worse than August. But this year is up over the previous for the third or fourth year in a row!”
Traverse City, Mich.
“I plan on going heavier on electronic drums and percussion then in past years.”
Firehouse Music of Georgia
“I expect to be selling more entry-level kits for middle school age kids”
Oak Harbor, Wash.
“It is going to be a great holiday season due to renewed interest in both acoustic and electronic drums and percussion.”
Westlake Village, Calif.
“We’re looking for business to pick up for the holidays”
Roger’s Pawn & Music
Fort Payne, Ala.
“The economy is still terrible, but sales seem to be improving during our last quarter. Hope to see this trend continue!”
“It’s hard to say with the economy the way it is. Hopefully things will get better.”
Billy Blast Drums
“Hopefully holiday sales will increase…”
Glen Weber Drum Shop
West Orange, N.J.