Only Half of Current Vinyl Buyers Own a Record Player, Study Finds
How many current consumers of vinyl records own an actual record player, would you think? As sales of phonograph records continue to swell among music lovers, new data shows substantial amounts of purchasers have no way to play the disks.
Following Texas' South by Southwest 2023 (SXSW) music conference last month, entertainment consultant firm Luminate shared the data in a presentation culling the top entertainment trends for the year, as Music Business Worldwide (MBW) recently reported.
But while U.S. consumers bought 41.3 million vinyl records in 2022, compared to 33.4 million compact discs, only half of those who've recently purchased vinyl records own a turntable, also called a phonograph or gramophone, needed to listen to them.
Fifty Percent of Current Buyers Can't Play Vinyl
Indeed, 50 percent of "consumers who have bought vinyl in the past 12 months own a record player," the report says, "compared to 15 percent among music listeners overall." Of course, that means that the other 50 percent doesn't own a record player.
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However, the stat could be somewhat misleading, as it's comparing recent vinyl buyers to those who already own them over the long term.
Naturally, one would expect a seasoned vinyl listener or even a longtime record dabbler to own a record player. Someone only starting their collection may be just collecting a few records before they take the full phonograph plunge and purchase a player.
Regardless, it's not the first time market research has shown a distinction between vinyl purchases and turntable ownership. In a 2016 survey shared by NME, 41 percent of vinyl buyers said they owned a turntable but didn't use it; seven percent said they didn't have one.
The new 2023 findings, presented at SXSW by Luminate CEO Rob Jonas, were based on the second wave of a music survey that saw over 3,900 U.S.-based listeners respond.
Vinyl Record Sales Resurgence
Last Christmas, as Billboard noted, over 2.2 million vinyl records sold in the U.S. during the week ending Dec. 22. It was the biggest sales week since Luminate started counting sales in 1991. Vinyl saw a 46.7-percent sales increase that week compared to the prior week, implying LPs were a popular holiday gift.
But does Billboard's Year-End Vinyl Albums chart belie the reason purchasers in the last 12 months don't own a record player? Mainstream pop albums such as Taylor Swift's Midnights, Harry Styles' Harry's House, Adele's 30 and Olivia Rodrigo's Sour were among last year's highest-selling vinyl records.