To some people, guitars are almost as essential as toilet paper. While the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the global economy, seriously hurting and shuttering many businesses, some companies — like Amazon and Procter & Gamble, for example — posted jaw-dropping financials. And in a less predictable turn of events, it appears the same can be said for major music retailers.

In conversations with Rolling Stone, instrument sellers Sweetwater, Guitar Center, and Reverb reported a bang-up year for online sales. In 2020, online-only store Sweetwater surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in the company’s 42-year history. It also served over 1.5 million customers in 2020, up from a million in 2019. CEO Chuck Surack says shipping out 15,000 to 20,000 orders a day was normal for most of the year, resulting in about a 40 percent increase from the previous year. And when “Black Friday stuff picked up” the numbers increased to 22,000 to 24,000 orders a day, peaking at about 30,000.

While the Etsy-owned Reverb — an online-only marketplace similar in design to Etsy, but for musical equipment — has not yet released its gross merchandise sales (GMS) data for the fourth quarter, CEO David Mandelbrot tells Rolling Stone that Reverb saw its highest quarterly GMS yet in 2020’s second quarter. And the third quarter numbers were up more than 30% compared to the same period last year.

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Created on May 2, 2020
By @gurlic