SOME REALITIES OF THE CURRENT SAXOPHONE MARKET
The manufacture of new saxophones is currently at an all time high, with new factories popping up all over Asia (where pretty much the entire industry has moved) almost every month. Since a saxophone can easily last a hundred years with only basic maintenance, and in consideration of the fact that there have been almost no innovations in design or improvements offered by any of the major manufacturers since the very early 1950’s, it’s pretty obvious that this manufacturing frenzy cannot be sustained. Now consider that the market is absolutely flooded with used instruments, and that eBay, Craigs List, and Reverb have greatly increased the ease with which used instruments can be marketed by individuals. Of course, we shouldn’t forget to factor in the online dealers, Amazon, and other cyber only vendors. The online competition has had a significant “reverse bidding” influence on holding down prices as consumers pit one dealer against another in the never ending quest for the lowest possible price. Life is not too easy for the brick and mortar traditional music stores in that rents, insurance, taxes, and employee costs have risen considerably in recent years, and margins have become almost non existent as they attempt to compete with cyber dealers and the booming used horn market. I would be extremely remiss if I failed to mention the changing demographics of the market. Generations X and Y, and the Millenials seem a little less interested in buying, much less collecting, fine saxophones than were the Baby Boomers. What does this all mean? Probably that a market shake up is coming due to excess manufacturing capacity, total lack of product innovation, excessive product available in the used market, and changing demographics. Food for thought if you’re in some aspect of the saxophone business!