Why 2016 is the year to start stocking and repairing turntables

National retailers such as Amazon, HMV and John Lewis all reported soaring sales of turntables over the Christmas period, indicating that there’s a big opportunity to make money from the vinyl revival.

While many audiophiles may argue that vinyl never went away, there is no denying that newer, smaller and cheaper ways of owning music have stolen the limelight for quite some time now.

While the past few years have seen a boom in audio products such as Bluetooth speakers and sound bars, surprisingly, this Christmas was all about turntables.

Official Charts data for 2015 reveals that LPs are set to reach the two million unit mark for the first time in more than 20 years, so it’s no wonder HMV reported that it had to double the floor space that it usually allocates to vinyl in the lead up to Christmas. In fact, the retailer said it sold one turntable every minute during the holiday sales.

“Entertainment products form a major part of the Christmas shopping list,” said Ian Topping, chief executive of HMV. “The gift of the year in 2015, though, has to be a turntable as we see a huge resurgence in the sales of vinyl.”

Amazon’s holiday sales figures echoed that of HMV. The retailer’s highest-selling audio product was the turntable. The Jensen JTA-230 3-speed stereo turntable (pictured), to be exact.

John Lewis also reported a whopping 240 per cent increase in turntable sales throughout 2015.

So what does all this mean to the humble indie tech retailer? Well, if we look at musical instrument trade title – PCR sister publication – MI Pro, editor Dan Gumble is telling independent retailers to seriously consider stocking turntables.

“Whether it’s seasoned music fans that have been inspired by this recent trend to shell out on a new record player to replace their knackered model from the ‘50s, or younger fans intrigued by a world of music that exists outside of their iPhone, there’s clearly a thirst for records and record players that is there to be capitalised upon,” said Gumble.

So, just like how some retailers have found success from stocking headphones, speaker docks, Bluetooth speakers and sound bars, the next step may be extending that range to record players.

With the likes of Panasonic and Technics revealing that they plan to release brand new turntable ranges during 2016, now is the time to get on board.

Another way of benefiting from the vinyl revival a little further down the line could be in the repairs department. PCR has already heard of some indies making money from repairing non-traditional tech products like hair straighteners, so why not turntables? If the record player sector really does explode this year, you can bet your life that there will be a whole host of cheap models that will no doubt need repairs. And of course, those owning the more expensive products will be more willing to get pieces replaced to get maximum use out of it.

While we don’t quite know yet to what extent the tables are turning, there’s no denying they definitely are.

Are you an retailer that stocks record players, thinking about get in on the action, or thinks the whole idea is ridiculous? Send me an email at lbarnes@nbmedia.com and tell me what you think.

We’ll be posting a following up with your views in the coming weeks.

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