Gen Z buys more vinyl records than millennials, study finds


Children have vinyl fever.

A new survey from MRC Data has found that people in the Gen Z age group buy more music on vinyl than their millennial seniors.

Millennials were the first generation to embrace digital music over physical formats, but it looks like their Gen Z successors are ushering in a vinyl revival.

The survey asked 4,041 people aged 13 and over if they had purchased a vinyl album in the past 12 months. 15% of people born between 1997 and 2012 (the rough parameters of Gen Z) claimed to have purchased vinyl at some point in the past year. 11% of their millennial counterparts claimed to have done the same.

Vinyl has experienced a boom in recent years and now sells more than CDs. In the UK, vinyl sales in 2020 were at their highest level since the early 1990s, having increased year on year for 13 consecutive years.

4.8 million vinyl records were purchased in the UK in 2020, representing 18% of all album sales. That’s a 10% increase from 2019. What’s remarkable about that figure is how physical record stores were closed for much of 2020 due to the pandemic. It seems vinyl fans aren’t put off by the shipping cost.

Vinyl sales have been boosted in recent years by campaigns such as LoveRecordStores, Record Store Day and National Album Day.

In a year where all of our lives have changed, the power to inspire music has never been so evident,Said Geoff Taylor, Managing Director of the UK phonographic industry. “The immediacy and convenience of streaming makes it the audio format of choice for most of our listening, but more and more fans are choosing to get closer to their favorite artists and albums on vinyl. It is remarkable that the sales of vinyl records and audio cassettes must have increased given the challenges that we have all been faced with. The increase in sales despite store closings demonstrates the timeless appeal of physical collectible formats as well as the seamless connectivity of streaming.

The trend is the same in the United States, where vinyl record sales grew 108.2% year-on-year in the first six months of 2021. 19.2 million vinyl records were sold, compared to 18, 9 million CDs. 2020 saw vinyl sales surpass CDs for the first time in 34 years.

This year’s best-selling vinyl album in the US is Taylor Swift’s Evermore, with Lana Del Ray’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club leading UK sales.

Classic albums are popular with vinyl buyers, with Prince’s Purple Rain, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Queen’s Greatest Hits, and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors among the top-selling records this year.


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