Despite some bad news for several key sellers in the last couple years, guitar manufacturers and sellers say demand for American-made guitars is strong. The National Association for Music Merchants (NAMM) says year-over-year sales are increasing by 7.03%. Total retail value of guitars sold in 2017 was $1.3 billion.
While Gibson Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year, it also reported that sales of electric guitars grew 10.5% to $122 million in 2017. Fender reports that fretted instrument sales have been growing for five years, and though the nation’s largest retailer, Guitar Center, is $1 billion in debt, it says “guitar sales over the past year have been the strongest we’ve seen in our history.”
Some in the industry are crediting streaming services as creating an all-time high interest in music. Last year about 125 million people paid for streaming services and 86 million attended Live Nation Concerts. Audiences are getting younger and many makers have introduced more affordable models. Also, social media allows makers to use prominent artists to create brand awareness.