Interesting article in a newsletter form Stereophile.
The upshot of this seems to be that direct sales are good for manufacturers, but buying direct is really quite bad for customers. He implies online just ends up a cycle of buying the next best thing based on reviews. He suggests one of the biggest issues is the change in musical tastes away from classical and jazz (i.e. acoustic), implying that potential consumers increasingly have less idea what music is meant to sound like.
I tend to agree with the latter point. Having bought speakers recently, I can certainly understand why certain brands would be more popular with people with less interest or exposure to acoustic music.
Also makes the point that USA and Europe are quite different because us over here live in villages with our local dealers. True to some extent, I live in a small village of about 10 million people.
Reminds me of when I used to buy suits. Buy off the peg and its ‘meh’ and you buy another one fairly soon. Get one tailored and it fits like a glove, is much more satisfying and lasts for years.