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Thread: Are Uke Sales Up?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    367

    Default Are Uke Sales Up?

    Mim opened her website at 9AM Friday and within 10 hours she had met her quota for the week! I'm not complaining. The fact she takes care of herself, her family, her animals, and us makes her even more special.

    HMS has raised 25% ($500) their uke purchase for free shipping and charge $40 for setup on under $400 ukuleles. I wouldn't begrudge Andrew and his great staff these prices. With their store flooding and fewer tourists stopping in, keeping a business alive is not easy.

    However, I'm curious if uke sales overall are up or down. Does anyone know what's happening to ukulele sales in general, either at on-line or "brick & mortar" stores?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    7,845

    Default

    Not in my house! They've totally stopped, but there could be some out-going ukes soon.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    391

    Default

    An interesting question. While I don't think I have the data to say for sure, I can help expand on your observation about Mim.

    Back when lockdown started in the Spring of 2020, it was noticed that Mim was selling out early each week. That spawned this thread: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com...+entertainment and I started keeping track. At first I had things to the hour (because she was posting that info) but later I pretty much just started rounding to the nearest half-day. I have been updating my observations in that thread ever since, and we are closing in on a full year. I also started to keep track of it in a Google Docs spreadsheet, so if you want to see it in plot form, you can find that here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UeZUbYkDMX7JiKSsnakQ5UkJ3crQNB0f6p_ZDg0nxcI/edit?usp=sharing


    In that time, Mim has only *not* hit her cap for the week 4 times. (She has taken 3 weeks off, which is what the "empty" weeks are on the graph.) What can we reasonably learn from this data?

    Well, Mim is a one-person operation and has decided to not take on more orders than she can get done in a week. This is a very healthy idea, and kudos to her for setting limits. But we don't really know what those limits are, exactly, and it is possible that they fluctuate as other parts of her life may place demand on her time. I do know that she raised her cap around the holiday season (because she announced that on her site.)

    What we can say, with some pretty solid certainty, is that demand has been consistently strong over the past year and shows no sign of slowing down at this time. (I think we can also say that Mim is one hard working woman and I think she should take on an apprentice. If I still lived in VA, I would consider quitting my job and beg the master craftswoman to take me on, but that is just my own personal daydream...)

    This is just one retailer, but it looks like demand is strong.

    I had been planning to make a post about this when we hit the one year anniversary of keeping data on this, but since you brought it up, I figured now was as good a time as any to talk about it.
    Mainly a concert player.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
    Posts
    481

    Default

    I'd venture to wage that ukulele sales are up for the year 2020. A lot of people at home who could afford one or more bought instruments. Ukuleles, guitars, other user friendly instruments or instruments that people had played in the past and now had time to revisit. I know I have practiced/played a lot in the past year. Bought two ukulele's, sold one. There have been supply line and manufacturing issues across the globe so that too has affected finished product and pricing---including shipping.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluze View Post
    An interesting question. While I don't think I have the data to say for sure, I can help expand on your observation about Mim. [SNIP]

    I have been updating my observations in that thread ever since, and we are closing in on a full year. I also started to keep track of it in a Google Docs spreadsheet, so if you want to see it in plot form, you can find that here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UeZUbYkDMX7JiKSsnakQ5UkJ3crQNB0f6p_ZDg0nxcI/edit?usp=sharing


    I had been planning to make a post about this when we hit the one year anniversary of keeping data on this, but since you brought it up, I figured now was as good a time as any to talk about it.
    Nice Spreadsheet. Interesting that in 50 weeks Mim only missed her cap three times. I continue to appreciate how she structures what's important.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    313

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    I am quite impressed that Mim can offer free shipping. I am not offering any of my rescued ukuleles now do to shipping cost. As many of you know, the year before last, I sold the last batch of rescued Martins for $300. I have a few others that are not quite in the Martin category but still nice sounding instruments, some may be preferable. I'm hoping that a new director and board will restore The USPS to some semblance of it's Constitutional Mandate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    2,028

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    I am living my UAS vicariously these days, and have been watching places like HMS, the UU marketplace, and the Kinnard website, among others. I haven't kept actual data, so am only going by what I *think* I've seen, but my guess is that lower end ukuleles are selling OK, but higher end ukuleles have stalled. Higher end ukuleles that, it seemed to me, would have sold quickly in the past, (here on UU, or elsewhere), hang around for longer periods of time now, and sometimes don't seem to sell at all.

    So maybe the question of "Are uke sales up?" would need to define a price point for the question. Are the sales of entry level ukes up? Maybe so, as people look for ways to pass time at home. (I have no data to back that up one way or the other.) Are sales of high end ukes up? I think those sales have slowed, or even stalled, depending on the price point. (Unless we're talking about an auction of a Moore Bettah. Those sale prices are impressive!)

    But, that's just from casual watching of the websites, and not really tracking details, so I could be wrong, (except about the impressive prices for the Moore Bettahs. I'm right about that!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ma., Ga., Fl.
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    2,504

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    This is my gut impression and not based on any actual statistics: The low to mid range priced ukulele sales are up significantly....mainly due lots of people shut-in at home with time on their hands. Conversely, I believe sales of high end and custom ukes are down as first timers generally aren't high-end buyers....and old-timers, for the most part, are just playing what they got and waiting the shelter at home scenario out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    667

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevejfc View Post
    This is my gut impression and not based on any actual statistics: The low to mid range priced ukulele sales are up significantly....mainly due lots of people shut-in at home with time on their hands. Conversely, I believe sales of high end and custom ukes are down as first timers generally aren't high-end buyers....and old-timers, for the most part, are just playing what they got and waiting the shelter at home scenario out.
    But first timers can be converted into high-end buyers within weeks if they like the ukulele and join this forum

    Here's what I think will happen. Not too many new, first-timers will be getting ukes because they are ready to go out and have fun. The lockdown is almost over; I think there's serious talks that (in the US) by May, everybody who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. I'm going to be qualified next week (California is adding people over 50 to the list); and California is running behind many other states.

    So, first there's still some leftover momentum for the cheaper ukes, e.g. < $200. But within 3 months, that's going to level off. There's going to be some sustainable increase in the higher end ukes (> $500) because some of those first-timers will continue with the instrument. There's also going to be more demand for uke teachers in the coming months as the lockdown eases. There's also going to be a glut of lower end ukes on sale at the start of next year when spring cleaning hits. If I'm a retailer, I'd be watching my stock of lower end ukes later this year because the demand might just dry up over night.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    667

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    I am living my UAS vicariously these days, and have been watching places like HMS, the UU marketplace, and the Kinnard website, among others. I haven't kept actual data, so am only going by what I *think* I've seen, but my guess is that lower end ukuleles are selling OK, but higher end ukuleles have stalled. Higher end ukuleles that, it seemed to me, would have sold quickly in the past, (here on UU, or elsewhere), hang around for longer periods of time now, and sometimes don't seem to sell at all.

    So maybe the question of "Are uke sales up?" would need to define a price point for the question. Are the sales of entry level ukes up? Maybe so, as people look for ways to pass time at home. (I have no data to back that up one way or the other.) Are sales of high end ukes up? I think those sales have slowed, or even stalled, depending on the price point. (Unless we're talking about an auction of a Moore Bettah. Those sale prices are impressive!)

    But, that's just from casual watching of the websites, and not really tracking details, so I could be wrong, (except about the impressive prices for the Moore Bettahs. I'm right about that!)

    I think there's some weirdness with the high-end ukes from Hawaii because of the lock down. I was following their pricing and availability because I was buying them. There was a big price increase from 2-3 years ago and a shortage of supply; I think this is due to the increase demand from lockdown and lost production from factory shutdowns. The thing is, the prices haven't gone back down from this combined, unusual situation (well, they have gone down just a little bit, like $20-$50 on $1000+; but prior to the lockdown, I see prices $100-$200 cheaper).

    So, the demand for high-end ukes is still there, maybe even a little higher than before; but the reason that they aren't moving as quickly is because the supply shortage is no longer there. So the price has to come down to pre-shortage level.

    However, I've stopped follow uke prices this year. I'm glad to have found a uke that works for me. I'm not of this UAS rat race

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