The IMIS (International Music Industry Statistics) are the most important industry statistics for the MI industry. The IMIS enables us to follow trends on a month-by-month basis as well as in annual cycles, and provides distributors and manufacturers with insights and detailed information about the market.

The IMIS is unique in the industry. There is no other regular survey of data on sales of musical instruments and music equipment in Germany based on distributor figures. Though it does not provide the revenue and sales figures for the overall market, the IMIS provides industry participants with extensive and reliable data on sales over time and sales volumes, and thus helps identify measures for the success of the industry.

Since 2007, the IMIS has been divided into 16 product groups that are further subdivided depending on the complexity of the category. This allows even small music segments to be accurately identified and examined. 

All reported figures are audited by an independent consulting company commissioned by the Society Of Music Merchants. The IMIS Rules & Regulations require a minimum of three reporting participants in each product group in order to exclude direct comparability.

Rules & Regulations

Additional information on statistical surveys of the MI market is available from the Federal Statistical Office

IMIS - Market volume and revenue shares

Influenced by the mood of the overall weak European economic situation of the year 2013, the German musical instrument and music equipment market could once again not hold steady, and finds itself in a slightly declining phase.

For 2013, the IMIS1 calculated a slight downward trend of 1.9 percent for the market volume of the industry. This way, the value sinks below the 900 million border for the first time since 2010. In comparison to the year before2, the industry statistics fell in the annual evaluation by 18 million EUR, reaching a revenue of 897 million EUR on end-consumer prices.

Among the reasons for this overall loss-making diversified market can be cited the weak economic trend within the German and the whole European market. Moreover, increasingly more non-specialist online traders, who have discovered musical instruments and related supplies as profitable markets for themselves, squeeze into the stage. However, these traders should not be situated within the MI industry. Further, it should be assumed that musical instruments and music equipment are more and more often offered and sold in the German market as reimports, at very low prices, by copycats via online platforms.

However, larger turnover drops could be partially compensated by gains in the product groups recording hardware, sound systems, computer software and cables, as well as light equipment and accessories and other non-classifiable electronic products. In closer observation of these product groups, a noticeable positive trend in the affinity of the divisions pro audio and music equipment can be delineated. The areas of drums & percussion, wind instruments, string instruments and keyboard instruments, as well as microphones and earphones and DJ equipment have lost strength.

1 IMIS (International Music Industry Statistics). Revenue without VAT, measured on the voluntary industry statistics of the SOMM (32 market participants).
2 IMIS: Adjusted to correction. Revenue 2012 = 914 million EUR/Old value: Revenue 2012 = 920 million EUR).

Submarkets: MI/pro audio/music equipment
In the analysis of the total MI market volume, the product groups of the classic instruments, such as keyboard instruments and supplies, string instruments and supplies, wind instruments and supplies and drums & percussion and supplies, generated almost half (47 %) of the revenues, which amounted to 418.5 million EUR; thus, they still remain the most important income sources of the German musical instrument and music equipment industry, and the backbone of the industry.

In the growing pro audio sector, the revenue gains (2013: 293.4 million EUR) in the product groups of microphones and earphones, sound systems and cables are meanwhile so high as to make a third (32.7 %) of the total market revenue.

The booming sector of computer software, recording hardware and light equipment, as well as the stagnant submarket of DJ equipment and the submarket “other products”, have contributed in the category music equipment with over 20 percent of the sales volume.

IMIS - Revenue shares of single product groups in the total market

The largest turnover fraction among the product groups of the musical instrument and music equipment industry is still contributed by the sector of string instruments and accessories. With a total revenue of 145.4 million EUR, guitar, bass & Co. occupied the top position in 2013, but in comparison to the year before, lost strength as well as distance to the product group occupying the second place, namely keyboard instruments and accessories. With 140.9 million EUR in revenues, the latter group also suffered losses in market volume.

Two submarkets in focus: Sound/PA systems and computer software
With an eye to the total market, two submarkets of the IMIS stand out in particular: on the one hand, the sector of sound/PA systems, as it increases in weight continuously year after year, and on the other hand the sector of computer software, which managed to grow over 100 percent in the last year. Both submarkets are represented in detail in the following two figures.

IMIS - Economic cycle of the total market volume

In the monthly evaluation of the total market volume of the IMIS it becomes quickly clear that many products of the MI market are very seasonally dependent. Therefore, it is unmistakable that musical instruments and their related equipment are ordered especially at the time preceding Christmas, and sold off during the Christmas time.

In the critical examination of the annual turnover course it can be clearly recognized that the IMIS consists of an inquiry within the distribution area. This way, the revenues increase already in the month of September, as it is known from experience that the first orders for the Christmas business are placed then. Comparing the year 2013 with the turnover course of 2012, it is salient that a rising market volume sets in with the month of September, ending with a peak in December. Still, the market values remained in part under those of the previous year, so that the expectations from the year 2012 could not be fulfilled. In overall observation, the whole year 2013 presents itself, with exception of the months of July, September, October and December, as worse than the year before.


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