It's no secret that demand for guitars has been up since the first lockdowns due to the pandemic, and Fender CEO Andy Mooney has now confirmed that has continued – with stock shortages set to continue for the foreseeable future.
“I think eventually it’s going to get better,” Mooney reasoned in a new interview with CNBC. “I think the big question is when. We’re not optimistic at this point it’s going to get significantly better for at least two, maybe three, quarters.”
The shortages aren't just reportedly affecting guitars but amps too. Mooney confirmed that Fender had increased prices "About 10% over the last 12 months" but it had now slowed demand. "It's truly remarkable, the demand that's out there. People want to use their time at home wisely and invest in activities that they really feel good about."
So there's the good news – and it's undeniable that Fender Play is helping them do that. The online learning service is tailored to helping beginners through the first steps and onwards as they learn to play guitar.
Mooney also revealed to CNBC that Fender had recently conducted research that found there had been "16 million new entrants" picking up the guitar since the pandemic began. That's whopping 7% of the population. This unprecedented demand has had a direct impact on company's ability to meet it.
"The entire industry is facing the same challenges," adds Mooney. "I'd like to think we've managed the issues a little better than some of our competitors. But everybody's struggling with the same issues."
Mooney confirmed the specific issues on the electronic side include chip shortages that have affected Fender amplifier production, and also transportation issues and the container issues in the US that have seen significant backlogs at Long Beach's shipping port that handles huge volumes of imports.
On the musician side, we're excited to see what this surge in new players will have in the long term for music making. "Nearly 2/3 of [new players] were between 16 and 34," explained Moody. "The audience is much more diverse than ever." The Fender CEO cited the significant numbers of new players from Latino descent especially.
With stock issues eventually being worked out, the huge growth in guitar players is at least something positive to be gained from a pandemic that's wreaked havoc on the live music industry. One that will hopefully pay dividends in years to come.