It is impossible not to mention the radical change this new year has brought into our lives: almost 300 millions people living in the Old Continent called Europe are now using the very same currency, the EURO!
Let's discuss - briefly - what this will mean for the HiFi market.
First of all, at least for us living in Europe and using the Euro, it will be far easier to buy HiFi components directly in the Country where these are made.
Manufacturers and dealers will be FORCED to try to keep the same retail prices in every European Country. Otherwise, thanks to the Internet and to the "free" circulation of goods, they could lose customers quite rapidly (and it's already happening). Why should I buy a French CD player in Italy when this costs twice than in France? Or why should a French buy an Italian loudspeaker paying it twice?
Of course, I don't expect prices will be "levelled" so quickly and smoothly but, certainly, using the same currency may help to keep those prices down.
It will be tough, at the beginning, but things will get better day by day. Actually, don't believe what the anti-Euro press is writing about this radical and historical change: the vast majority of Europeans is glad to be able to use the same money as there are NO exchange rates, no troubles when travelling, no costly conversions when buying over the Internet via credit cards or money orders.
Buying new and second-hand HiFi in Europe has never been easier: just perform a search on the Web, find the dealer, send the order and you're done. Few days later the item will be delivered at your door, no fees, no troubles, no worries.
Oh yes, I know this may sound too optimistic and I'm well aware there will be someone who will try to profit from this novelty...so keep your eyes wide open and use an euroconverter when in doubt ;-)
Secondly, consider 1 Euro is, more or less, equivalent to 1 US dollar (actually 0.90 USD). This means that it will be easier for us Europeans to understand US prices and, even better, it will make FAR easier - for you Americans - understanding EU prices. Before the Euro you had to deal with so many different currencies (ITL, DM, FF etc.) so comparing prices of Made in Europe stuff could have been confusing.
Actually, when listing the MSRP's of the items we review we will try to use the 1:1 ratio though we do know this ratio may vary (up or down). The ±10-15% variation can easily be "included" (absorbed) into the larger variation of suggested prices. You may already know that EU goods are more expensive if bought in the US and viceversa.
Actually, it's amazing to think at the Sonus Faber Concertino loudspeaker (just to name a worldwide famous example) which is sometimes considered "middle-class" in the US while it is entry-level here in Italy (list price: 820 Euro/pair, this means it can be bought for much less). And, of course, the same happens here with US items...sometimes considered hi-end (because of the price here) though just known as super entry-level in the US.
I hope I'm not opening a can of worms, these are WELL KNOWN FACTS.
For these reasons I hope you'll forgive us for this 1:1 currency conversion. Always have in mind these variations...don't take the prices we list as gospel and always refer to your local distributor/dealer for REAL MSRP's.
So, a new era is born. I hope the new "common" currency will cure some "crazy" prices of HiFi stuff, at least here in Europe.
© Copyright 2002 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com