Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT Italy
Published: October, 2022
It is clear to everyone that the golden era of HiFi is just a forgotten and almost mythical period between the Seventies and the Nineties. Youngsters seem no longer interested in purchasing a decent HiFi system, as a smartphone and a pair of earphones seem enough to satisfy their needs. As a result, HiFi stores are disappearing, and even HiFi Shows seem to have lost their attractive power. For this reason, it is surprising to notice how many new HiFi brands and companies populate the market. Let's have a look at some figures from one of the most important HiFi Shows around, the recent Munich High End 2022.
According to the organizers, the High End Society, 19,767 visitors attended the Show this year. Of course, many of these visitors were professionals (dealers, journalists, designers etc. that's around 5,000 people). Then, there were 450 (four hundred and fifty) companies from 41 countries which represented 800 (eight hundred) HiFi brands. Yes, you understood it well: 800 different brands. Perhaps there were 80 different HiFi brands in the Seventies, or maybe less. 19,767 visitors and 800 brands gives you a rough estimate of 24 visitors per brand. Of course, each brand had different components on display, let's assume an average of 10 components per brand, and it is an estimate from below, as mathematician say, because there are many brands with over-crowded catalogues. In any case, this equals to 2,4 potential buyers per brand.
Of course, these figures are gross estimates, since a potential buyer might wish to purchase more than one component at the time. That's correct, but then add to the equation the fact that there are much more than 800 HiFi brands in the world. These 800 brands at the Munich Show were just big enough to display their products at the European fair. Many Chinese or Far East brands will never exhibit at a European fair, and the same applies to small US-based brands.
In other words, we have too many HiFi brands, but too few audiophiles. This is a problem, especially if you consider that many products displayed at the Munich Show were extremely expensive (from 20,000€ on, see our reportage). Hence, where is this market going to? I'm afraid it's imploding and there's nothing we can do to avoid it. Yes, we can try to review more affordable gear, but we are mostly alone in this effort. And, what's worse, it is hard convincing small companies that manufacture affordable gear to let us review their components. Amazon reviews seem to be the thing, even if these are completely unreliable...but this is the scope of a future article, when I'll try to expose the risks of trusting opinions of individuals with zero experience in the field.
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