Hi, I'm always interested in how much people pay attention to the cost of HiFi gear in the manufacturer's country vs. the available price wherever you live. I'll give you an example. I recently bought a new CD player and it came down to the Meridian 507 and the Arcam FMJ CD-23T. I ended up going with the Meridian based on the sound that I liked better--I kept forgeting to skip around and try different songs with that player and ended up just listening to music, something I didn't do with the Arcam.
That being said, the part that I couldn't get over was the price difference in the players in the US vs. GB. They go for 1,195 and 1,200 GBP at home yet go for $2,150 and $2,499 here in the states. Would anybody look at the fact that there seems to be a $350 "premium" on the Arcam when making a purchase decision? When looking at straight exchage rates, these players should go for about $1,900--I understand paying something beacuase the product is imported, but $600 seems like a lot. Conversely, the McIntosh MA 6900 Integrated amp goes for $4,500 here and I'm considering it. Would I consider it for the 4,500 GBP ($7,000!) it would cost me in GB--No Way!
I suppose it depends on the strategy of any company. B&W speakers cost the same (or cheaper) in Japan than in the U.K.
I think the main difficulty is when you want to allocate your budget in a certain way for a CD player, integrated amp and speakers. Let's say 1:1:2 (for example) in a Japan. If the components are from Japan, the US, and the UK (one from each country) you'll end up with a very different ratio if you buy the same components in the UK, or the US. I believe that such allocation ratios (that you can often read about in magazines) only make sense (if at all) if all the components are from the same country.
its a tough call. if you have a british cd player, you have to take the price in pounds and then remember that the price includes a 17% VAT, so the actual price, without tax will be 83 % of the retail price. Then the overcharge becomes even more significant. The difference goes to the importer. It isnt hard to bring in equipment once its set up nor is is costly. Importers are greedy.
Just think about all the costs involved in foreign distribution:
Advertising and marketing in the destination country
Distribution, support, and service network in the destination country
Modifications (transformers, plugs, fuses) for different line voltage
Testing and certification
Translation and printing of manuals (well, not US-UK)
Shipping, handling, paperwork, and insurance
Duties and customs clearance
International banking fees
...there must be many more.
If you're selling something that isn't mass-market, all of the above costs get divided among a relatively small number of units. The price of each unit has to go up accordingly.
I say get what sounds the best to you for what you're willing to pay. Doesn't matter it happens to be imported/domestic with a price that is adjusted for those things (shipping, customs tax, etc).
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