Vinyl sales set to soar past 1 million this Christmas

Vinyl sales are growing strongly, new figures show. Picture: Stephen Chung/LNP/REX/Shutterstock
Vinyl sales are growing strongly, new figures show. Picture: Stephen Chung/LNP/REX/Shutterstock
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It has been growing in popularity in recent years as young music lovers who have previously never known life without digital downloads opt for a more traditional way of listening to bands.

But now, the vinyl industry is cashing in on the Christmas gift trade as official figures show that sales are set to soar to the highest levels since the early 1990s in December.

New data from the music industry’s trade association, the BPI, predicts that there will be more than one million vinyl LP sales this December alone - up 26 per cent on the same four weeks last year.

It said that 2017 will see LP sales break through the four million unit barrier - a 30 per cent rise on 2016 and up 1,472 per cent since the low-point of 205,000 sales in 2007.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI and the BRIT Awards, said: “More and more of us have been rediscovering the joys of vinyl as artists and labels release more of their new titles and classic albums in the format. The aesthetic appeal of vinyl albums also make them a highly desirable Christmas gift item that friends and family will love to receive.

“Vinyl is aspirational, collectible and has a high perceived value despite being generally affordable, and this December we’re expecting more than 1 million LPs to be purchased.”

In December, the figures show, vinyl is set to account for four per cent of total music sales, with classic albums such as Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Radiohead’s OK Computer and The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths likely to hit the bestseller list, alongside more modern music such as Ed Sheeran’s Divide.

Typically vinyl sales are dominated by heritage rock acts such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Oasis and Radiohead, but in 2015 Adele’s 25 was not only the best-selling album title overall, it also topped the year’s Official Vinyl Chart.

The report said: “Another key factor is that music retailers, such as HMV and Fopp, are dedicating much more of their floorspace to vinyl whilst also featuring it more prominently in their Christmas campaigns. Supermarkets are also investing in the format, with both Sainsbury’s and Tesco launching their own ranges in recent years.

“Festive sales of vinyl are also being boosted by a massive surge in demand for record players – last year HMV reported that they were selling as many as one a minute in the final week before Christmas.”

Although there has been a long-held perception that vinyl is bought predominently by Baby Boomer men, research from Kantar WorldPanel suggests that the demographic of vinyl buyers is beginning to broaden. Data for the 24 weeks ending October 22 shows that nearly a quarter of British spend on vinyl was by purchasers aged 34 or below, compared with just over a fifth of CD purchasing. The data also indicated that female fans now account for around a quarter of vinyl sales.

Andy Watters, who has run Vinyl Villains on Edinburgh’s Elm Row since 1983, said popularity had gradually increased over the past three or four years.

He said: “It is a bit of a trend. I hope it will continue, but I don’t know. When we first opened, it was more or less only vinyl – even cassettes were a fairly new thing back then –I don’t think we’ll ever get back to those days, but it is a healthy situation right now in terms of vinyl sales.”