Hit the Lights
Lighting and related Visual Effects are, to be sure, a “niche market.” Not every MI store even stocks Lighting – just 34 percent of the over-4,000 full line stores we contacted last month indicated that they carried Lighting/Effects gear – and even those that do are dependent on both local demand for such products, as well as their own ability to effectively market and promote them.
Given all of that, it’s not always easy to pinpoint any larger trends or draw a whole lot of hyper-specific conclusions about the Lighting market: Depending on who you speak with (and where their store is based, and what type of clientele it targets), you’re just as likely to hear that the market is terrible as you are to hear that it’s never been better. Nonetheless, our recent survey points to at least a few clear-cut truths. For one, “It seems that anything with LEDs is hot right now,” as Jon Hiller of Cowabunga Music in Anna, Illinois put it (and as 58 percent of his co-participants confirmed). Also, while churches and schools remain consistent consumers of Lighting gear, it’s the DJs and independent promoters who are accounting for the majority of purchases. Beyond that, there’s agreement… to disagree, vis a vis the current climate vs. the market at this same time last year. 36 percent report an increase in sales, 31 percent note a decline, and 33 percent claim little to no change (How’s that for definitive?).
Does your store currently offer Lighting products?
What buying trends have you been noticing in the past few months? What types of Lighting/effects are “hot” right now?
Moving Lights: 9%
Fog Machines: 7%
DMX Controlled: 4%
Overall, are Lighting sales up/down/level, compared to this time last year?
“Sales are up about 25 percent and even more in lasers. However, we can attribute our increase in laser sales to aggressive clearance pricing. ”
Ken Udell , Audio-Depot, Madison, Wis.
“Well you can’t really go by last year, but our lighting business is fine. Even last year was pretty good, considering”
Sammy Ash, C.O.O. Sam Ash Music Corp., Hicksville, N.Y.
“Very slow in this area… Many previous customers are ordering from catalogs or online.”
Sonny Heller, The “MUSIC BOX”, Topeka, Kan.
Have you held any special promotions or sales specifically relating to Lighting?
No, but thinking about it: 52%
No, and never will: 21%
Generally, who do you find to be the primary consumer for such product?
Independent DJs, promoters: 55%
Schools, churches: 27%
What percentage of your overall business does Lighting and related sales represent?
Less than 5%: 33%
More than 25%: 13%
“Most people go to Guitar Center or order online. Best Buy could do well selling lighting products.”
Bill Scotti, Scotti Music Company, Hamilton, Mass. & Exeter, N.H.
“Lighting has started to finally catch on here in the cowboy capital land! Bands are upgrading and schools are purchasing a lot of the LED fixtures as they upgrade older equipment.”
Bob Josjor, Lou Kraus Music Inc., Ogallala, Neb.
“It is getting very competitive and, although there are many new products, it seems margins are still a bit low when you consider the Internet and mail-order price matching!!”
Dave Valdez, Dave’s Music Center, Brownsville, Texas
“We have carried and sold some lighting products in the past, but we do not find enough demand to merit stocking these products at the present time. Special orders are a possibility.”
Keith Weathers , Weathers Music Corp., Salem, Ore.