February 27, 2012

Business As Usual?

This looks like business hours with some of our hifi dealers!

The Star daily's Audiofile section makes it's last appearance today after 22 years of publication. A whole generation of audiophiles grew up(and grew old) with Audiofile. Similarly, the NST's AV Today also had it's plug pulled(for now at least) sometime earlier this month. It's a sad loss, no make that double tragedy for the English reading Malaysian audiophile. What does this mean for local hifi market?

Keen eyed readers would've also noticed the lost of high end audio and AV dealer, Ultimate Reference advert panel on these pages. They too have shuttered sometime in January(if not mistaken). Audio Impressions also suffered the same fate some time last year.

It looks like the bad times are here. New vehicle sales are down, more people are losing their jobs, and even more companies have implemented hiring freeze. As expected, post Chinese New Year blues is the season people usually tighten their belts, after lavish spending from a series of festivities and holidays starting from the end of last year. It's the time to catch up on those credit card payments and make up for those house hold budget deficits.

What can we expect from all this? Expect less new brands and models coming to our shores, as our dealers struggle to clear their existing stocks. Expect more "SALES" and discounts. Expect some lesser brands to eventually disappear from the market place, as dealers streamline their product ranges. Expect less overall marketing activities.

I suspect this is all just the beginning! Expect things to get worst before it gets better. Perhaps this is a time for our local hifi dealers to conserve and emerge stronger out of this down season? Business as usual? Absolutely, as they say, hifi business is highly cyclical.

Still, it'll be hard to imaging both me and Odiosleuth to continue these pages for 22 years. That's a mighty long time! Kudos to all the guys who contributed to Audiofile for that long a time. You guys deserve a break and lastly, my Monday mornings will never be the same again.


Ken said...

Big E,

Dont be so negativelah! Just because a couple of audio outlets close shop, you are talking about the end of the world.

Hifi world is alive and kicking! If the company is struggling to survive, then they should ask themselves, what extra could I do? Marketing? Sales discount? Upgrading existing customer? Venture more towards AV? Package sales? That what good companies do to prosper. If you continue to do what you do year on year, do you expect to see improvement? Just look at Kodak?

If Audiofle & AV Today cease publication, you can still get Stereophile, Absolute Sound and your Hifi Unlimited!! So what's the problem???

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Big E,

Good post. My monday blues will be somewhat bluer.

To the guys at Star Audiophile. Hats off to you and hope to cross path with you on greener pastures.

Big E said...


I guess my negative emotions were just too glaring??? Hey, it's 2012 after all! Ha! Ha!

The hifi world is just barely alive and kicking, if you talk to as many dealers as I do. However, each and every dealer have their own strategies for survival during these hard times.

For me, it's so much about Stereophile or the Absolute Sound, my monthly must have hifi porno reads. Having locally produced reading materials are more important, just because:
1) These are the people you(at least I) know, and can sit down to have a cuppa with!
2) The reviews are done within the local context, models destined for Malaysia and tested within the confines of typical Malaysian home!
3) I am a proud patriotic Malaysian, and hate to see our hifi establishments go south, because unlike those for profit majors, our establishments are run by people with passion. Monetory rewards, IF ANY are secondary considerations. Hifi-Unlimited operates on the very same principals of passion.


It's tough times ahead for me, greener pastures are getting harder to find!

Thanks for your support.

OdioSleuth said...

I note with sadness that Audiofile is no more.

Shortly after getting my first hifi set as a hand-me-down from my dear dad, I discovered Audiofile, that was the early 90's. I have not stopped following it since, lately with the online version.

I still remember with fondness that my first pair of loudspeakers, the Signet SL260B/U was also one of Sujesh's favourites.

All the best to the gang at Audiofile.