Predicting the AGon economy?

What are your thoughts on how the high-end audio market will fare given the current state of the economy?

We're not exactly your typical demographic when it comes to being hit by a recession. I know people who would sell their bed before downgrading their rig. On the other hand, most sales on this site (ostensibly) are the result of upgrading which is probably reduced at this point. So with both supply and demand going down, I haven't really seen very many price fluctuations.

I'm no expert on economics, but it seems that even this market should have an optimal time to buy. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I haven't been able to figure this one out.
There were some tremendous bargains around Christmas, but lately I've seen many sellers' asking prices do not reflect the current business conditions.

If anything, I've noticed higher asking prices than before the economic downturn.
Economy SP error. Working on my spelling and editing skills thanks to Chad.
I would tend to agree with Tvad concerning higher asking prices. I have spent the past month making offers on a processor for my home theater system and getting nowhere. However, that may be based more on the fact that processors, along with wire, are the most overpriced components when new and their market value drops like a rock once they are used. Especially those without HDMI and /or the latest high definition sound modes. I think sellers of processors way overpaid, now want the latest and greatest, and cannot bring themselves to sell their pieces at realistic prices.
I agree with Kira. I just bought a B&K Ref 20, listed at $2500 for $350. I needed a remote preamp with dacs, composite video switching, and headphone jack for my office where sound is more important than picture. I just have as old 27" Panny with one comp. input. Unless somebody wants a very specific piece, these things just aren't worth a lot. Dan
The audio market has been splitting for many years now. Rare, desirable, collectable, gear and items that are of recent manufacture and have been favorably reviewed by the hi-fi press continue to bring a larger percentage of their original selling value, in many cases, exceeding the original selling price. Common, or less desireable items have hit the skids and can't be sold at any price. There are some very good bargains in overlooked goods right now, but collectable gear is pretty highly priced. There seems to be less gear, generally, coming on to the board these days and that tends to firm up prices a bit, as well. I guess most people can't afford to upgrade and are just hanging on.
I also have been a little puzzled by the audio market lately - there are significantly fewer items being posted on this site than before, except perhaps for speakers, yet the pricing continues to rise. One would think the pricing would have to come down pretty soon if that trend continues.
I agree with the points made by Tvad and Viridian. From my point of observation pricing is all over the ballpark. It seems to me that the number of "listings" has been pretty consistent to perhaps even growing (AG should be happy), but it appears that there is an act of "closet cleaning" that is going on and the mix of "gear" offered has moved a bit away from the high end product to a closer proximity to the mid-range product.

I keep a detailed bluebook for items that interest me, so I have a very good idea of the range of sales. It seems lately that listing sellers have less of a clear picture of the used market and are often offering items at "wishful" prices.
Good comments by all. I'll add that prices for collectable and specially desirable/rare pieces tend to be driven significantly by overseas buyers. The much weaker dollar, compared to a few years ago, has therefore probably helped support prices for these pieces.

With the dollar rebounding somewhat recently, and the economic downturn seemingly spreading pretty much world-wide, I suspect that before too long we'll be seeing prices for these pieces coming down also.

-- Al
High end Audio seems to be like the Beer and Wine markets… recession resistant, but not recession proof.

By and large, my take on sales, postings and pricing especially, seems overvalued by those newer entrants to this website. Those with more time here and or exp. Are generally more sane with their asking prices.

Initially I wanted to go HT with all separates. Uh… that didn’t work for me. Too much $$$. IMO Most likely due to my devotion to 2 ch being my priority instead. Receivers with outboard amps is the ticket there for my uses of HT. I don’t go off on higher priced cabling for it either. It’s modest thru and thru yet remains involving and fun. That’s good enough for me. One more 3 ch or a very good 2 ch SS amp for it, and I’m done there…. Save for adding in a 1080 FPJ and trickling down my 720p to the BR rig. Maybe.


I suspect with ongoing listings everything may get a bit of a squeeze for a while. Mainly while some decide or discern their own situations…. Be it to continue onwards and upwards? Or downsize.

Seen the numbers of the unemployed lately?

Priorities are changing. Top to bottom. Many have been and are about to be affected.

A change in priorities in a recessionary era restricts spending… again, top to bottom. Inventories are restricted and availability decreases accordingly. Production is scaled down too. It all makes good sense as well.

Doubtless few of our ‘cottage industries at their finest’ will suffer some, but given many are but fueled by a minimum number of people, they will continue… just at a lesser pace.

Prices should as well become more attractive as the motivation, eventually, increases by need. Some too may just be trying to move out non prioritized pieces… superfluous items at a premium, as speculation and not by motivated needs.

Personally, I feel it more as a social mind set than anything else. An precautionary atmosphere perhaps. It is pervasive and affective to degrees which account to their own financial and security levels. Recessions are marketing and emotional depressants too. Recovery from them requires changes, both temporal and long lasting at times.

Another year, two or so, all will be less bumpy. Three tops.

It may be for the best in the end, if this period enables folks to become more attached to values in life rather than to mere indiscriminate costs and previous discretionary spending habits.

If nothing else, paitience will get experienced by many, like it or not.
It may be for the best in the end, if this period enables folks to become more attached to values in life rather than to mere indiscriminate costs and previous discretionary spending habits.

Well said!

-- Al
I recently put up a few items, all at or near the bottom of the Audiogon price range. Most have sold pretty quickly. Two interesting incidents.
1. I accepted an offer (through the Audiogon system) and got the piece wrapped up to ship off. The fellow gave me his Fedex number to charge. When I emailed him for payment through paypal, he emailed back that his company (Nortel) just declared bankruptcy that day. He wanted to see whather he could back out. I didn't have a back up buyer, so he kept to the deal and paid.
2. I accepted another offer through the Audiogon system. However the buyer has not responded to several emails over the past three days. The problem is that the Audiogon system automatically marks the item as SOLD once the offer is accepted. So right now I am stuck - no replies from the buyer in three days and the item is marked SOLD, so no one else will buy it. Is this part of the new AGon economy/
I am glad I saw this post. I thought I was the only one who thought many of the recent sellers were a bit . . . well. . . "optimistic" (to be politically correct) or more likely down right outta touch with reality (if not). I've even seen a number of people selling used stuff and asking FULL RETAIL!!

While people are certainly free to ask whatever they want for their gear and look for a PT Barnum type, I've been tempted to post a smart-ass response to a few of these sellers and say "Sure, I'll take your used piece of gear and pay MORE than if I bought it new with a warranty from a decent dealer!! In fact, sign me right up for two of those bad boys!" Ah, but then I realize the poor chap will think I am the crazy one so I just laugh, shake my head and go on my merry way.

I have sold a few things lately and they did sell, but I also asked well below 50% of retail and they were in great shape. Who knew I could have gotten 90-100% of retail? When will I learn?
I think some folks (newbies, mostly) who have stumbled onto this site, or been turned on to it by other members, have their expectations out of proportion… as was said…. Or are simply over valuing their offering (s).

The absence of a sale will be enough to get their attention. If motivated sufficiently, they’ll adjust. If not they’ll continue to reap the benefits of extended ownership of the piece.

Rather than high price tags being asked for, the anomaly which fascinates me most is this one:

“If you are reading this ad you know about this ‘yada yada gizmo, and it’s reputation’”…. Or words to that effect.

Sure do. Absolutely! Of course!

We know about every thing ever made and it’s laudable history. It’s the law!

That has to be the most ignorant, presumptuous and erudite statement of all time. I always wonder if it isn’t the other way around, as so many of those sorts never include any info on it in the ad itself… usually no links to other resources either. Neither do some so much as reply giving more info when requested.

I pass on those with all due haste just on principle.

Second to that lack of disclosure are these sorts:

The apparently “prearranged” sales which show up from time to time, being sold within mere moments of the listing being posted… yet not marked as SOLD and NO response indicating such an event took place.

…and I’m talking about ads which come online in the wee hours I’ve responded to immediately and waited a couple days for replies, only to hear later it was sold within 1 hour or less. Sheees. I sent my offer within ten minutes agreeing to the full price too on a couple occasions.

What’s up with that?

Given my own exp. I’ve asked to be relieved from an offer I made in haste or my circumstances changed unexpectedly. Life does happen, now and then. That’s happened to me twice during my membership here. Both occurances were due to things on my end going south. Another time, it was due to more info continuing to be revealed about the item not previously brought to light at the onset of things.

I always made contact immediately notifying the seller of the instance and my regret. I even offered to provide some renumeration for the inconvenience.

As a seller I’ve had my share of excuses too for reneging… such as “I just got served with divorce papers”, “Being sued for an auto accident that happened 12 years ago and I must be in court in the morning”, “My dog needs an operation”, or “Would you mind if I traded you a ??? and some cash instead?”, and my personal favorite, “just no reply whatsoever following a previous committal.

Remorse isn’t a sin. Changing one’s mind either by circumstance or otherwise is not either. But let’s be frank and Man up about it. Quickly. That’s just plain consideration, and thoughtfulness.

I wait now to see the funds before I mark my ads accordingly.

A friend of mine has a similar situation and was getting no response following a commitment such as yours. Contacting Audiogone resolved it by them providing him more time for the ad to run as again, ‘available’, rather than as SOLD… as it had been so marked. So contact A’gone with your circumstances, and see what they say. They’re usually pretty reasonable, and most often quite responsive.

In the long run though, things always work out. Just not when or how I may have wanted them too.
Good replies so far... Viridian's remark hits closest I think to the model I was trying to theorize. Some of the gear that I've been looking at (VTL, Shindo, Devore among others) has all actually gone up in price since September. Less items + more free time to read excellent reviews = a desire to buy said equipment as soon as it's posted.
Does anyone have any sense of what percentage of gear gets sold during its first listing period? Any idea of whether that percentage is heading up or down over recent months. My own guess would be down.
"I'm no expert on economics, but it seems that even this market should have an optimal time to buy."

Josh, it's always the summer. Less goods coming onto the board, many, many, less buyers, and prices are much lower. Sell in winter, buy in summer.
Any financial changes since last month folks? I personally know of many more people, including myself that have less disposable income. At one point eight months ago I was looking at upgrading to a pair of Fidelio Encores or Devore Nines, but today am looking at doing some tube rolling. Anyone else?