MiB: Pandemic Excuses for Upgrading Audiophile Equipment
Amps that sell of $17,000 (but you need at least two of them); speakers that go for $200,000. If you thought that the pandemic was killing retail sales, you may not have been looking in the right places.
So says Jeff Poggi, co-CEO of McIntosh Group, manufacturer of audiophile components widely regarded as among the finest in the world. Despite the pandemic, the company notched their best sales year in their 70-year history. Although the company’s manufacturing plants were all closed for 4-6 weeks in March and April, but from June forward, each month was new record for sales.
Poggi explains that people were spending 24/7 at home courtesy of the pandemic. They not only spent less time and money on discretionary entertainment purchases — no concerts, or shows, or even vacations — but they began to notice that much of their living spaces were in need of an upgrade. One of the biggest beneficiaries was home media rooms – what we used to call “The Den.”
Consumption of both Audio and Video gear increased, and in some cases dramatically. For the first time in decades, notes Poggi, vinyl sales surpassed sales of CDs in 2020, which means the audiophile community is expanding. Similarly, with movie theaters considered pandemic health hazards and theaters closing, film and video consumption has also migrated to the home – another key driver of McIntosh’s business.