The survey also showed that overall just 15% of music listeners own a turntable. As for the ones who don't but buy records anyway, what are they doing with them? Luminate doesn't drill down, but does mention that "super fans" of artists are almost three times more likely to have purchased vinyl in the past year. The company describes these super fans as "music listeners who spend above average (median) time AND money on music, actively discover new music, participate in music-related activities on social media, and plan on attending a live music event in the next 12 months."
Furthermore, they present the values of super fans, in order:
1. Social Signaling
2. Expression of Identity
3. The Community
So one might conclude that if you don't have a record player, buying a record signals to your Instagram followers that you're cool, makes you secure in your identity, and makes you part of a group. (Actually listening to it apparently isn't part of the experience.)
Aside from the social signaling enabled by social media, this trend—of buying things you won't use—isn't new; for decades people have purchased athletic gear, ambitious books, router bit sets, clothes one size smaller, kitchen gadgets and more that simply gather dust, but were acquired to reinforce one's idea of oneself.