Axeman cometh: Guitar sales hit high note in lockdown

concert-2391995_1920Further proof that the coronavirus pandemic has turned Britain into a nation of musos has been revealed by the UK’s biggest online retailer of instruments and sound equipment, which has seen a 68% increase rise in sales to £37.3m from April to June.

York-based Gear4music said UK sales had recorded the best performance, rising by 80% to £21.2m, while international sales soared up the charts by 55% to reach an impressive £16.1m.

The ecommerce business, which was founded in 2003 and now employs 460 staff, said the big movers included electric and acoustic guitar starter bundles, digital pianos, and home studio equipment, including microphones and recording software.

Chief executive Andrew Wass told the BBC: “People are interested in having a really good hobby that they can get into. Maybe they played music at school and have found themselves indoors and decided to come back to it. It seems everybody wants to be a podcaster and they’re buying into really professional set-ups at home.”

Wass said the first three weeks of lockdown had been “the most difficult weeks of my business life”, as the firm adapted its working environment to the new coronavirus conditions.

With live music events falling victim to the lockdown, demand for PA systems and speakers for gigs has dried up, Wass said, but added: “That’s coming back a little bit now, but it’s been very difficult. Fortunately, we’ve made up for it in other areas.”

However, it seems Covid-19 has not just rekindled Brits love of music. A new study by Kantar has shown that UK consumers have spent an extra £24m on tea and coffee, plus £19m more on biscuits in the past three months.

The surge in sales was part of a wider rise in supermarket shopping over the period, with consumers spending a record £30bn on groceries, driving the sector to its fastest growth since records began.

But all is not lost for those still craving the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle; sales of beer, wine and spirits through supermarkets have also rocketed, up 41% in the past month alone.

For those looking for hard drugs, however, the news is not so positive. According to a report in the Financial Times, the wholesale price for a kilo of cocaine coming through Rotterdam has gone up from €25,000 a kilo late last year to €32,000 a kilo now.

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