High End Audio - How Much Retail Mark Up? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-14-2004, 07:49 PM
I have moved to a new home with a very large living room and need to upgrade my current system (B&W CDM-7 with Marantz Electronics). I bought this system in Japan, where I lived at the time, in '96 through local mail order and have been very pleased with it. I was surprised to find that this system is much more expensive in the United States (where we generally have very good, low cost distribution of products) and am trying to understand how the high end audio sales system works here.

Can anyone explain the sales channel strategies of high end audio distributors?

What's the typical retail mark-up by product type (speakers, electronics, etc.)?

Is it impossible to buy some product through mail order or the net?

Can I get access to dealer invoice information like I can get for automobiles? (my new system will probably cost close to a new car)

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, anyone know of a high volume, high end retailer who will discount?

What are the best bargaining strategies to get discounts from dealers?

Are there any speaker/electronics manufacturers who have a factory to customer direct, low cost business model with quality on par with B&W, Mark Levinson, etc.?


01-15-2004, 06:33 AM
1. Make as much as you can with as little effort as possible? Cater to a select group of people rather than the average joe.

2. Company makes said product and needs to make 25% or more on every item above what the product actually costs (parts, labor, and other materials) for their profit plus future R&D. Item gets shipped to the store. Add on gas and other associated delivery charges. Store needs to make a profit. Tack on an additional 50% or more. (Rent, electricity, etc.) All in all, there is typically between a 50% - 100% or more markup on goods.Ouch.

3. No. Just depends upon what you are looking for. For example, my speakers are nOrh (http://www.norh.com), sub is SVS (http://www.svsubwoofers.com), and receiver is Outlaw (http://www.outlawaudio.com). If you wish you can buy JBL, Velodyne, and Denon over the net.

4. Unlikely. Typically the manufacturer will slap a price on the item and you search for sales, much like items in your local grocery store.

5. No clue as I live in Florida. May want to try the companies' website to see if anything is available in the area. Could also try the local yellow pages.

6. Cash. Be thoroughly prepared to buy the item elsewhere, even if you may not receive it right away. Make a large purchase at that store. Buy one, get one free sales.

7. # 3 just barely scratches the surface. You have Odyssey (http://www.odysseyaudio.com), Ascend Acoustics (http://www.ascendacoustics.com), Magnepan (http://www.magnepan.com), Newform Research (http://www.newformresearch), Merlin Music (http://www.merlinmusic), ACI (http://www.audioc.com), Home Theater Direct (http://www.hometheaterdirect.com), Axiom (http://www.axiomaudio.com), VMPS (http://www.vmpsaudio.com), Onix (http://www.av123.com), HSU (http://www.hsuresearch.com), GR Research (http://www.gr-research.com), Shamrock Audio (http://www.shamrockaudio.com), and Adire Audio (http://www.adireaudio.com) for starters.

01-15-2004, 08:58 AM
Have you looked at Audiogon? Lots of nice stuff on there and many dealers competing for business.