Guided by industry trends, retailer feedback and consumer sentiment, The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and Making Music magazine have pooled their expertise to predict which musical instruments and technology will be topping gift lists this holiday season.
Many of this year's best-selling items are likely to be fretted instruments, including acoustic guitars, which saw sales rise 15 percent last year, according to data from Music Trades.
The ukulele renaissance continues (thank you, Bruno Mars) with a wider variety of sizes and styles, which helped push last year's sales up 54 percent. As the uke trend enters its second phase, the demand for portable, fun-for-all instruments is carrying over to similar categories. Stores are stocking a new class of compact guitars for easy travel at beginner-friendly pricing, and banjos, which are gaining popularity in step with string-heavy bands such as Mumford and Sons.
In addition, keyboards, especially digital models, offer compact convenience and concert sound at affordable prices. New technology has given both professional and aspiring musicians unprecedented abilities to make and manipulate music, spurring sales for items such as digital DJ controllers (up 54 percent) that incorporate the processing power of iPods and iPads to achieve pro effects within any aspiring DJ's reach.
"It's never too early or too late to learn how to play music and instruments are perfect gifts for anyone on your holiday list, no matter what age or level of experience," said Antoinette Follet, editor-in-chief, Making Music magazine. "They're the type of gifts that keep on giving because they're also an investment in the lifelong appreciation of music."
"Sales of acoustic guitars, ukuleles and even DJ machines are gaining ground because they answer a need for personal enjoyment," said Pete Gamber, educational representative for Music & Arts, a national chain of musical instrument stores. "Most people who buy a ukulele or a DJ machine don't buy it because they're starting a rock band; it's something they're doing at home or for family parties."
NAMM and Making Music magazine's holiday gift guide promises unique and memorable gifts for everyone, from the amateur to aficionado.
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