Reverb.com has revealed the best-selling pedals of 2020 on that particular platform. And while there are plenty of other big retailers on the Interweb - Reverb is likely the largest single entity - so some heed should be paid to these stats, while they don’t necessarily give you the full global picture. Plenty of manufacturers sell direct - and you have all those major stores - with Andertons, Sweetwater and Thomann leading the charge - which play into things too. Nevertheless it always makes for interesting reading - and I will try and extrapolate some salient commentary of the various sales charts which I will reference here too.
The most significant one is of the course the Best-Selling New Pedals for 2020 :
Reverb states it assess these accumulatively over the whole year - which I’m led to believe is by overall order value versus numbers of actual pedals - thus you can get some very pricey pedals appearing relatively high in the chart - like the Preamp MKII, while the MXR Timmy - the lowest cost unit in this ranking, will need to have sold considerably more units!
I don’t see any real surprises - while it’s a little eye-opening that the limited 2,500 EQD Love Pedal V2 makes it to the top - many would have bought direct from source or other vendors, mine came from Andertons for instance. It’s a decent pedal though and deserves to have done well.
For me the Blooper and Keeley Eccos don’t necessarily belong in this chart as they were both introduced in 2019 - but it’s nice in particular to see the Blooper doing quite that well - It’s evident that Chase Bliss Audio and JHS Pedals have had particularly good years.
Andy Martin in his overview video below also states how JHS’s new 3 Series is already nipping at the heals of these - so definitely a bumper year for Josh Scott and Joel Korte and their respective crews.
I’ve revised all of these to different extents over this year - with the exception of the Line 6 Pod Go - which currently doesn’t hold much interest for me - while I of course see its appeal.
I am also delighted that Hologram Elecotnics’ Microcosm features that high. I obviously settled on the Cooper FX Arcades in that broader area - but I’m still relatively keen on the Microcosm - which would though be impossible to fit into my rig - and would to be need to be operated in somewhat supplementary fashion.
Of these 15, I personally have just 5 - the EQD Life Pedal V2, CBA Blooper, CBA Automatone Preamp MKII, Strymon NightSky and EHX Oceans 12. I will definitely be getting the MXR Mini Timmy at some stage, while the Microcosm and Walrus Audio Ages are still under consideration. One or two of those may well be added to the collection this year.
Are there any surprise here for you - either in terms of what’s in, or what missed out?
Andy Martin gives a brief selective overview as follows :
The second stat shows all the 'cash-cow' pedals for those leading pedal brands - the bread-and-butter pedals as I call them, that keep those brands going in times of adversity. It's interesting how the chart breaks down :
Boss has 3 in the top 15, while Electro-Harmonix and TC Electronic have a pair each. I'm always intrigued by what sells well and what does not. I always though TCE would be Ditto and Polytune - while there is weirdly no trace of the latter.
Pretty much everything else here is to be expected really - nice to see the relatively budget ProCo Rat 2 $69/£69 is still doing well.
Once more - I own 5 here out of the list of 15.
There's nothing really that unexpected in this chart - which is headed by the Big 3 of course - Boss, Electro-Harmonix and MXR / Jim Dunlop. Pretty much in order of their reach and influence.
TC Electronic seems to be still holding well just below the Big 3 - despite some strange interference from the Behringer Group and the loss of a number of key staff members; while DigiTech is actually a slight surprise considering the disgraceful shedding of pretty much the whole team and main architect Tom Cram back in 2018. It's testament to Tom Cram and the original team that those pedals are still selling well.
I always wonder where Brian Wampler fits in here - he never quite seems to make these charts - but I always view him in tandem with those other Modfathers - Robert Keeley and Josh Scott. Josh in particular seems to be somewhat on a roll - and I expect him to go up a couple of positions next year - riding on the success of his Legends and 3 Series.
Chase Bliss Audio hasn't been around quite long enough to have those numbers of second-hand pedals to push it up the charts, but on their current trajectory they should hit this chart in a couple or so years.
This chart makes for much more interesting reading as the order of the Big 3 is somewhat warped - with MXR relatively far down versus its range and reach. I always expect Boss to rank first - which I'm pretty sure it does globally, but here Electro-Harmonix pips it to the top.
JHS has so evidently had a bumper year to be up in the third slot - I'm not sure I would say it's punching above its weight, but I am surprised to see it above TCE and MXR - both those brands have big-selling bread-and-butter pedals, where I wouldn't have thought any single JHS pedal was quite into those numbers.
It's great to see the two Challenger brands as such - Walrus Audio and Chase Bliss Audio - making inroads into this chart. And Mooer putting in a solid performance - which considering the largely budget nature of its range is no mean feat.
Otherwise the brands in the chart are largely per expectations - just not in the presumably most obvious order!
So this is surely one of the best metrics of success - the order of Pedal Brands which made the most total sales or which got the most overall cash in its pockets.
Again MXR seems to be slightly below par - in that it's not fully keeping up with the other 2 of the Big 3, in fact MXR only makes 7th here - with Strymon, Line 6, JHS and EQD above it. There you can see the difference in average transaction price in terms of the per unit sale - as the higher-priced Strymon and Line 6 land 3rd and 4th place above JHS - which has likely sold a lot more units.
The unit value is also apparent at the tail-end of the chart with Fractal Audio and Chase Bliss delivering the dollar bills for their slightly more pricey units.
Encouraging for JHS, while MXR will need to pull up its socks somewhat for 2021!
So this final category is the pure unit numbers round - i.e. who sells the most boxes - with the average order value in parenthesis :
Rank. Brand [Average Used Price USD]
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here at last we see some trace of Wampler in 16th position - and nice to see Xotic Effects in the chart. This is probably all the usual suspects in mostly expected order - this time it's TC Electronic which separates MXR from the other 2 Big 3. TC Electronic has always been pushing at that door - and has probably been helped on the numbers side with the metal conversions of those Behringer pedals. I still don't entirely approve how those were shunted into the mainline TC Electronic range - but certainly understand the perspective from the added coverage - and I've included some of those Behringer-infused ones somewhat against my will in certain category roundups!
I buy pedals / products from each of these brands - bar Behringer, for my own ethical reasons. Most of these brands still regularly knock it out of the park with ongoing innovations - while some are evidently somewhat resting on their laurels.
I recall a period when Boss kind of took it's eye off the game for a while and started dropping down the chart - which kind of coincided with the rise of TC Electronic. I'm not sure you could level the same accusation at MXR currently - they still put out worthy pedals - but possibly they are a little off the pace - in particular when compared to the challenger brands.
You have to innovate to thrive - as the 3 'Audios' regularly seem to be doing - Chase Bliss Audio, Jackson Audio and Walrus Audio. Those 3 seem to lead the pace in innovations - but there are several brands not too far behind. Strymon of course turns out the goods regularly - and their new NightSky Reverb is suitably revolutionary!
Behringer obviously has the lowest average price at $59 ahead of Mooer at $93, while Line 6 is dearest at an average of $405, just ahead of Chase Bliss Audio at $359, then Strymon at $314.