The debate about whether National Album Day can actually boost album sales goes on ahead of tomorrow’s main event. But new research from Kantar Worldpanel shows that the beleaguered format is still worth £390 million to the industry.
That’s the value Kantar’s research put on total sales of artist albums in the 52 weeks until August 29 this year, with one in five people still purchasing at least one album – either physically or digitally – in the last year, with 75% of purchases for personal use and 25% for gifting.
“There’s clearly still a demand for music presented as the artist intended us to hear it, which is why the album market is worth nearly £400 million annually,” said Kantar Worldpanel artist Giulia Barresi. “Buying albums in store is consumers’ favourite way to shop. More than half of shoppers choose to hit the High Street for their music fix because they like the in-store experience of it – browsing the aisles, physically flicking through the albums and talking to staff.”
Doing that has become more challenging for UK consumers of late, with Music Week revealing that leading supermarkets are cutting back on entertainment space. But, despite streaming now representing around 60% of the albums market most weeks, with physical sales down 15.9% year-on-year in Q3, Kantar’s research offered an optimistic view of the future.
“Though it’s a challenging market for bricks and mortar entertainment retailers at the moment, there is still room for growth,” said Barresi. “High Street album sales already account for £168 million a year. If retailers offered a greater choice of products that give an enhanced listening experience – be that deluxe editions, limited edition vinyl or even tying up with hardware manufacturers – it could help tempt shoppers to increase their spend on this much-loved format.”
National Album Day, launched by the BPI and ERA, is hoping to raise awareness of the format, but many in the biz hope it will turn into a Record Store Day-style sales bonanza in future years.
* For Music Week’s survival plan for the album format, click here. For more on National Album Day, see this week’s print edition of Music Week, starring Jess Glynne on the cover. For further NAD coverage click here and here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.