According to new data released by the music industry, guitar sales increased significantly in 2020. Many of them were bought by worship band members.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has been one of the top sellers of instruments in the United States, providing an assortment of tools. They're also consistently collecting data on who is buying their instruments.
In a post on Ultimateguitar.com, Fender estimates that "approximately $1.5-2 billion dollars are spent annually on music audio and instrument gear. However, 30 per cent of all of these sales, so almost $600 million or so, are made up of gear that is used in churches for praise and worship music."
Fender Vice President of Marketing Matt Watts told Ultimate Guitar that "Given our mission to support artists at every level and on every stage, we are determined to serve as a major supporter of the worship community. We have learned that nearly a third of all instruments sold are used in the worship setting, and there is no doubt that worship leaders and music directors are a source of musical inspiration for so many players."
Ultimate Guitar also estimates that at least one million guitar players are consistently performing at churches every weekend. The number of people playing worship music has been increasing significantly in recent years. However, it remains unclear how much these sales are affecting worship bands.
While church plants are shrinking, the trend of modern churches adopting more contemporary worship methods has consistently grown since the 1970s.
Christianity Today notes that the guitar-centered folk and rock styles "signaled openness and authenticity to white baby boomers raised on the Beatles, but guitars also had some practical advantages...They were portable. When a new church started in a school, or someone's house, or even on the beach, no one had to haul over an organ. Guitars are also easier to learn to play than the pianos and organs traditionally used in church music."
In contrast, the number of students learning how to play the organ has declined, with organist positions struggling to find applicants.