On the surface this seems like a simple-minded question. I mean
it COSTS an audio show goer, on average, somewhere between $1000 and
$1500 to attend a show if they come from more than 500 miles away. How could
that possibly save them money? Let me count the ways…
Scenario One – Audiophile A has had the same $25,000+ speaker
system for the last ten years and they are thinking about replacing them with
“something smaller” in the same price range for the inevitable “downsizing”
their mate’s been talking about since God knows when. Attending a show and
having an opportunity to hear a lot of speakers in one place during a short
time will save them time and money. Their local dealer could have arranged
for them to attend so they could hear a particular freshly released speaker
that hadn’t been shipped yet.
Scenario Two – Audiophile B lives in a region of the country
bereft or almost bereft of high-end audio dealers. Coming to a show where they
have an opportunity to meet many dealers, audiophile B can decide who they
would like to work with most, since for many customers and dealers geographical
or geo-political regions for exclusive sales territory don’t exist in this age
of Internet. Most customers who buy $100K+ systems expect the dealer to visit
them. Does the visitor’s home base location matter to the customer? Not really.
As long as a dealer can be there when and where the customer needs them, the
dealer could be in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, or Boulder,
Colorado. At an audio show audiophiles can meet dealers from all over the
country and find one who’s on their exact wavelength.
Scenario Three – Audiophile C came to the show because they
merely wanted to spend the weekend listening to stuff they had never heard or
seen before. No plans for purchases or new acquisitions, just a weekend of
audio. Ok, the show will put them out-of-pocket $1500 with nothing concrete to
show but good memories. But wait, during that time, despite all attempts not to
do anything but enjoy themselves, audiophile C has gained educational points,
learning what they like and don’t like that will help shape what they do buy or
sell in the future. That translates into an education paid for, but also eventually money saved…
I rest my case.