The UK musical instrument market has been adversely affected by a number of factors over the past five years. The recession that struck the United Kingdom in 2008 resulted in high levels of unemployment and uncertainty among consumers, who subsequently reduced their consumption of discretionary goods.
This change in consumer behaviour affected a number of retail industries and further aggravated the decline in an already under-performing industry. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, industry participants already faced a growing lack of interest in music as a hobby in favour of other leisure pursuits, such as the surfing the internet or playing video games; this reduced demand for musical instruments.
At one time, the ability to play a musical instrument was considered an essential part of a person's basic education. By the 2000s, however, electronic diversions like music-playback machines and video games, including the popular Guitar Hero and Rock Band series, made the effort of mastering an actual musical instrument somewhat less appealing.
Digital machines continued to vie for market share in the musical instrument industry. For example, Casio, a maker of a range of electronic products, introduced three new digital pianos in 2010 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its first electronic music instrument, introduced in 1980.
As part of the personal consumer durables category, musical instrument purchases depend greatly on consumer confidence. Such purchases are made with disposable personal income. In addition, in times of recession, discretionary spending for school bands and orchestras, personal music lessons, and high-end instruments become the first casualties of stripped down budgets.
Reflecting a strong economy and low unemployment, production of acoustic pianos and school instruments decreased in the early 2000s, gained ground in the mid-2000s, then declined again with the economic recession of the late 2000s.
While dominated by a few large manufacturers, the musical instruments industry has remained rather fragmented. Traditionally, the musical instruments industry has been dominated by the production of pianos, player pianos, organs (including electronic), and parts for those products.
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