The resurgence of vinyl is continuing according to latest research from ICM Unlimited. In the run up to Record Store Day this Saturday, April 18th, ICM’s latest research shows that sales of vinyl records in 2015 are healthier than ever across all age groups. 18-24 year olds are still driving the revival, but older music fans particularly 35-44 year olds have also embraced the format – many are rediscovering their love of vinyl and dusting off their turntables.

Vinyl demand

Seven percent of people bought vinyl in last month, up two percentage points from 2013, and not bad for a format where the revival has been led by people power. One fifth (21%) of 18-24 year olds bought vinyl in the last month, up from 14% in 2013. 11% of 25-34 year olds bought records in the last month, up from 9% in 2013.

Maurice Fyles, Research Director at ICM Unlimited says: “We’ve been talking to consumers about their music purchasing behaviour for three years now and during that time we have seen a real resurgence in the appetite for vinyl. Fans of all genres are buying new and second-hand vinyl online and on the high street.

YouTube is the gateway to sales of music. It is used as a virtual library for every track, band, and style of music before buyers’ part with their cash. And once people decide what they want, as well as the major retailers – Amazon, the supermarkets and HMW – websites like eBay and discogs are meeting the demand for limited edition, rare and second-hand releases on vinyl and other physical formats.”

YouTube is a virtual library used for discovering new music

YouTube has become to go-to destination for researching and listening to music before purchase. With one third (30%) of people visiting YouTube to find music, the site is only slightly less influential than friends’ recommendations (32%). 18-24 year olds discover more music on YouTube at 62%, but every age group uses the video sharing website in some way – it’s 32% for 35-44 year olds and 29% for 45-54 year olds. This is considerably more than other digital sources including Shazam and Spotify.

eBay and charity shops

Amazon, supermarkets and HMV are the main destinations for people buying physical music in the UK. For HMV this is a significant achievement since its rescue from administration in 2013. Half of all vinyl buyers buy music on eBay. Twelve percent of people buy music from charity shops and 8% from independent record stores.

34% of vinyl buyers either don’t own or don’t use a turntable

Perhaps because collecting is such an important reason for buying vinyl, the research continues to show that many people that buy records never get them out of the sleeve.  One fifth (22%) of vinyl buyers have turntables that aren’t set up or are kept in storage, and 4% don’t have turntables at all. The number of 35-44 year olds playing vinyl has more than doubled since 2013 when 6% used their record players: now the figure is 14%. This is a combination of people getting their record player out of the loft or garage, and buying a new one. At one in ten, 35-44 year olds and 18-24s are the age groups with the highest stated intention of wanting to buy a turntable (10%).

Pop, rock and classical are top of the vinyl favorites

For the first time the research asked people what genre of music they are buying on vinyl. The result shows that more specialist genres such as Blues, Hip Hop, Jazz, Folk and Reggae perform particularly well on vinyl.

Overall, pop music is top (51%), followed by rock (41%) and classical at 34%.

Four in ten of all vinyl buyers describe themselves as collectors

At two thirds (67%), collecting is highest amongst 35-54 year olds, compared to one third (33%) of 18-24 year olds and one fifth (22%) of those aged 25-34. In terms of cost, vinyl is an investment. The average price of a vinyl album is $27.94, compared to $12.37 for a CD.

Maurice Fyles, Research Director at ICM Unlimited says: “For vinyl fans the format offers the chance to collect limited and luxury editions and enjoy the sleeve artwork and a different listening experience. The music industry has responded to the vinyl revival by launching a brand new vinyl-only chart. The combination of tracks from Ed Sheeran and Noel Gallagher alongside reissues of back catalogs from legends including David Bowie and Led Zeppelin promises to produce an eclectic top 20.”