As the world’s second-largest economy, China is a major driver of global economic growth. The Chinese music and musical instrument market is no exception, and it is growing quickly. This presents opportunities for music instrument brands looking to expand into this rapidly growing market. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the Chinese musical instrument market and explore some of the key trends driving its growth. We will also highlight some of the challenges that brands face when expanding into China and offer advice on how to overcome them.

China Musical Instrument Market Finding its Marks

The growth of the musical instrument industry in China is phenomenal. As a matter of fact, it is currently a seven billion dollar industry and it does not show any signs of slowing down. 

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It has grown at a pace of 10% over the past five years and it’s continually transforming to accommodate the spending power of the Chinese consumer. Did you know that just a few years ago, the musical instruments industry in China was all about exporting goods abroad? Times have changed and that’s no longer the case. 

As far as importing musical instruments is concerned, a 10% increase is a testament to the preference of the Chinese market. They are constantly looking for better quality products, and most of the time, it’s the big brands that deliver what they’re looking for. 

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A huge part of the reason why the musical instruments market in China has gained a lot of traction is the Music in China Fair, hosted in the New International Expo Center yearly. Events like these are important so consumers can discover more and more instruments and music-related products from local and foreign brands alike, thus stimulating their interests accordingly.  Such an event invites over 90,000 visitors from 80+ countries.

Local brands are also gaining a significant share of the market because there are instruments that are only used within the country. These are traditional instruments like the guzheng and guqin.  Western instruments are also now very popular among buyers. 

And, you can bet that the booming eCommerce industry, as well as the digitalization of the country, has directly affected the progress in the musical instruments category. It will be prudent to take a look at the factors for businesses and banks on it. 

What Are the Reasons China’s Musical Instrument Market Is Growing?

A huge reason why China’s musical instruments market has significantly grown in the past few years is the popularity of online music lessons.

The online tutoring market is currently a $14 billion industry and is a quarter of China’s projected $50 billion music education market. These are mind-boggling numbers and something that businesses should not overlook. 

More and more parents are now turning to online music education as opposed to face-to-face and more and more teachers are also seeing the convenience that this setup brings.  These teachers have even developed their own curriculums to accommodate the needs of different kinds of learners. But, it’s also prudent to keep in mind that once the pandemic is over, teachers may go back, albeit not 100%, to traditional face-to-face tutoring. 

That will not change the fact that interest and sales of musical instruments in China will continue to grow for years and even decades to come.  Overall, the online K12 and preschool musical education will be a $30 billion industry in 2022. 

Tmall Is a Major Player in the Chinese Ecommerce Space

Yes, the Chinese market is ripe for the taking for both local and international businesses alike, but it’s not easy finding success in such a competitive space. Enter, Tmall. Powered by Alibaba, success on this platform may very well mean success in your eCommerce business. 

CHINA MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MARKET:  GIBSON STORE ON TMALL

Why Musical Instruments Are Gaining Traction on Tmall?

The popularity of musical instruments on Tmall is brought about by the overall popularity of music amongst almost all age groups. There has been a significant rise in interest to learn musical instruments in the past few years and this is the main driver for such a huge boost in sales. 

To say that it is a major player in the Chinese eCommerce space is an understatement. In 2018, it accounted for 60% of the GMV or Gross Merchandise Volume in the online retail B2C market of the country.  Alibaba has more than 700 million monthly subscribers and you can only bet that this has grown in the past few years. 

So, we urge you to please invest in your online reputation and use the right platforms to start growing your brand and business. Most of all, make sure that you have mobile responsive websites because a huge chunk of eCommerce sales (and by huge we mean about 90% of it) are done using mobile devices. In contrast, it’s only about 40~% in the US. 

Some of the Top Musical Instruments Brands on Tmall

Music runs through the veins of humans as a species and so it’s only natural for a country with the largest population in the world to have a lot of music lovers. They are hungry for music and get hungrier as the years pass by.

As far as the top musical brands on Tmall are concerned, we mentioned earlier that consumers go for good quality products and western brands nowadays, right? Statistically, that’s quite true. Folk music is the most popular genre in China with pop and rock music gaining a lot of ground as we speak. From these genres, you already get a good idea of the bestselling instruments.

The guitar, violin, and of course, piano are such a huge piece of the pie as far as musical instruments go. Yamaha, Ibanez, and Taylor are three of the most popular brands in China. They are also more expensive than most local brands. As far as instruments go, the guitar definitely reigns supreme for its affordability and versatility. 

Piano comes next as it’s one of the most sophisticated instruments to play and even learning the skill becomes a status symbol, which is very important for Chinese families.  Other western brands such as Fender, Pearl, KHS, and Parsons are also very popular amongst consumers. 

How can musical instrument brands grow their brand awareness in China?

There are a few things that musical instrument brands can do to grow their brand awareness in China. Some of the things that they can do include:

  • Creating localized content: Musical instrument brands can create localized content for their target audience in China. For this, the first step would be to use Chinese channels rather than western ones, write content specifically with your Chinese consumers in mind, and so on. Join the community of Chinese lovers on forums such as Zhihu through official presence but also “undercover” presence.
  • Having a strong presence online, as the majority of Chinese consumers are active online and are likely to research brands and products before making a purchase. This could include creating Chinese versions of their website, producing videos and social media posts specifically for the Chinese market, and collaborating with famous Chinese celebrities or social media influencers to promote their products.
  • Participating in tradeshows and events: Musical instrument brands can participate in tradeshows and events aimed at consumers in China. This will allow them to reach potential customers face-to-face and give them a chance to show off their products and learn more about what Chinese
  • Establish partnerships with existing Chinese music institutions, such as conservatories or universities. Another way would be to sponsor popular Chinese music shows and festivals.

Promote your musical instrument brand on Chinese social media apps:

Chinese social media are key to promoting your brand and enterprise in China. There are numerous apps for any type of business. For musical instruments brands, we recommend focusing on the following:

  • Weibo to grow your visibility: Weibo is one of the most popular social networking sites in China with over 500 million active users. Many musical instrument brands have used Weibo to reach out to Chinese consumers and promote their products. For example, Yamaha has a Weibo account where they regularly post updates and announcements about their products.
  • WeChat for nurturing: WeChat is another widely used messaging and social media app in China with over 1.2 Billion monthly active users. Not only can brands use WeChat to send messages directly to potential customers, but they can also create official accounts where they can post articles, videos, and other content
  • Douyin: it’s China’s biggest short video app with 600 million active users. It is an incredible medium for music and influencers making it a perfect promoting ground for musical instrument producers. Whether you publish official material or collaborate with influencers, Douyin is a place you don’t want to ignore.

Don’t forget to create an official account:

An official account on Chinese social media is incredibly important.

  • Improved Brand Recognition: When people see your business being active on Chinese social media, it sends a message that you are serious about doing business in China and that you are committed to meeting the needs of Chinese consumers. This can help improve brand recognition and trust among potential customers.
  • Greater Engagement with Customers: Chinese social media platforms are interactive, and official accounts offer brands access to business and marketing tools that are not available to users’ accounts.
  • Protection: with an official account you protect your brands against copycat that could use your name to spread misinformation. With an official account, consumers know where to find legit brand information and won’t be confused between several users’ accounts all claiming to be you.

Want to start selling in the China Musical instrument market?

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to marketing in China, and even harder to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. What worked last year might not work this year, and what works now might not work next year.

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GMA has been working in the Chinese online marketing space for over 10 years. We have a step-by-step process that we follow that helps brands grow their presence in China while keeping up with the ever-changing landscape. Plus, our agency offers one-time services for brands that would like to try something new. Contact us for a free consulting session.

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