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Over 1 million vinyl LPs sold in first three months of 2021 in UK

Vinyl sales in the first quarter of 2021 are up 16.1% from last year

With UK vinyl sales having gone up last year by 11.5%, new data suggests that upward trend is to continue through this year.

Sales of vinyl LPs in the UK were up 16.1% year-on-year in the first three months of 2021 to pass a million units (1,080,653), according to Official Charts Company data.

This continued increase is seen as particularly remarkable having come at a time when the UK was in a national lockdown due to COVID-19, with music buyers simply purchasing records online instead of in shops. 

Following the return of non-essential retail on April 12, sales have also spiked, according to Music Week. ERA research says the reopening of record shops has seen an aggregate year-on-year increase of 91% so far.

Speaking to Music Week, ERA CEO Kim Bayley said: "This is better than we could have hoped for. Like all physical retail, record shops have been through the wringer these past 12 months. Apart from dealing with furloughing staff, worrying about paying the bills and sickness among nearest and dearest, many shops have had to adapt to a whole new business model, and start trading online.

"There was an understandable nervousness about reopening again, so to come back and see this kind of bounce has been a real boost. It’s a shot in the arm for the physical business too – who would have thought that pent-up demand would produce a 65% increase in CD sales in 2021? The boom may not last forever, but it’s a touching vote of confidence from music fans that they really do appreciate music shops."

The increase has been consistent over the two chart weeks since record shops returned on April 12th, with vinyl sales up 92.3% year-on-year for chart week 15 and 91% for chart week 16.

Vinyl sales contributed £86.5 million to UK recorded music revenue in 2020, it was revealed last month.

For more on the staying power of vinyl amid the pandemic, read DJ Mag's recent feature here.