Vinyl sales continue to grow in the UK

Many people may not even have the means to play them, but vinyl records are still pretty popular, says Kantar data.
24 April 2018
kirsty cooke

Head of Digital Content

According to Kantar data, the overall value of the vinyl market in the UK for the latest quarter (in the 12 weeks to 1 July) was £25 million. 420,000 people bought a vinyl record in this period, up by 6.6% vs. Q1 (that is, the 12 weeks to 1 April).

Giulia Barresi, Category Analyst for Entertainment and Telecommunications at in Kantar's Worldpanel division, comments: “Vinyl doesn’t lend itself to gifting as much as CD albums, being typically a “for myself” purchase. In fact, 82.4% of spend came from “personal use” purchases (vs 71.8% for CD Albums) in the 12 weeks to July 2018.”

The data shows that vinyl is still mostly male skewed, with males accounting for 81.6% of spend in the 12 weeks to July 1st, vs. 67% of CD Albums sales. The purchaser of vinyl records is younger than the average CD album one, with those under 35 accounting for 26% of all spend vs. 17.5% CD albums (in the 12 weeks to July 1st). ‘This may sound like a surprise, as vinyl records are traditionally associated with an older generation,’ says Barresi, ‘But actually their appeal to youngsters is an ongoing trend.’ This trend is being pushed by the likes of Sainsbury’s, who launched their own vinyl label at the end of last year, and have seen the greatest number of vinyl transactions of all UK grocers. Of course, it is stores like HMV and niche record stores – or artist’s own websites – where the majority of vinyl transactions take place.

Who is buying vinyl?

The latest data from our Great Britain TGI study of consumer behaviour reveals that just over a fifth of adults in Britain who have bought music in the past 12 months have bought vinyl records, representing over four million people.

Of these, 13% (over half a million people) have bought more than 10 vinyl albums in the past year and 20% (over 800,000 people) have spent £50 or more on vinyl records.

The most popular venues for buying vinyl records are second hand/vintage shops, frequented by 30% of vinyl buyers. These are followed by specialist music shops such as HMV (28%), websites (27%) and auction sites (20%).

Compared to the average buyer of music, buyers of vinyl records are 57% more likely to be aged under 25 (i.e. aged 15-24) and over a fifth more likely to be London-based.

Buyers of vinyl records are considerably more likely than the average music buyer to like to stand out and have fun. They are 48% more likely to say they like to stand out in a crowd, as well as 48% more likely to agree that the point of drinking is to get drunk and 50% more likely to say they buy new products before most of their friends.

They can be effectively engaged with the right celebrity endorsement, as they are 58% more likely than the average music buyer to assert that celebrities influence their purchase decisions. Celebrities they are especially likely to admire compared to the average music buyer include Russell Brand (41% more likely), Miley Cyrus (28% more likely) and Harry Styles (26% more likely).

The most popular music genres that vinyl record buyers have purchased in the past year compared to the average music buyer include Punk (almost two and half times more likely), Alternative (89% more likely) and Blues (80% more likely).

How do you reach these buyers?

A variety of commercial messaging may engage the vinyl record buyers. They are almost two-thirds more likely than the average music buyer to say they tend to buy products from companies who sponsor exhibitions or music events, 71% more likely to be willing to pay to access content on magazine websites and 55% more likely to admit that out of home advertising can change their perception of a brand. They are also 40% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of cinema and 27% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of internet.

Who owns vinyl?

A Kantar survey of 1014 people found that, in the UK, 59% of people either had ‘a few’ (35%) or lots (24%) of vinyl records. Men did appear to be bigger fans of the format, with 65% saying they owned some vinyl (vs 53% of women). Just 8% of those under 18 said they owned any, perhaps unsurprisingly, while 74% of those over 65 had some or lots in their collection. 36% of those aged 25-34 said they owned some, with around 15% saying they owned “lots”. 4% of our respondents claimed not to even know what a vinyl record was!