The Cost of US Products Overseas

Price USA for the Strata:

US$ 2990 excluding let’s say 7 % sales tax
US$ 3200 including tax

Price Germany for the Strata:

Converted with typical Credit card rate per today’s (March 15, 2020) that is a whopping:
US$ 4570
including our fabulous 21 % sales tax.

So in Europe we pay 43 % more to feed the importer, wholesaler and tax takers feeding frenzy.

Because the MSRP in the US already incorporates a margin of 60 %, for the sales channels, there is no need for a ginormous 43 % extra mark up.

But PS Audio European marketing manager has done his homework and probably also found out that EUR 3990 is in a cosy price range in Europe.

Alternatives for the Stellar Strata are:

  • Hegel H190 for EUR 3.959,00
  • Gold Note IS-1000 for EUR 4.200,00
  • AVM Inspiration CS 2.2 BT for EUR 4.290,00
  • less of a comparison (no built in streamer) T+A PA 1100 E for EUR 3.890,00
  • Linn Select DSM with stereo power amp modules: beyond EUR 6.000,00 (off this chart)
  • Naim Audio Unity Star for EUR 4.290,00
  • Primare I25 Prisma for EUR 3.500,00

While the Stellar Strata can certainly compete with its contenders, listed above, we have to conclude that the benefit of the bargain has been dedicated to the sales channels rather than the consumer.

C’est la vie.

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They are two completely different economic systems and for that reason not directly comparable on a price only basis.

Baldy, a 43% export rate on a MSRP that already contains a reservation of 60% margin for the sales channel alone is a rip off. Regardless the economy models.

I have lived and worked in both economies. The differences (one economy, Europe rips you off with its taxes and lower mid range incomes) the other economy rips you off with (cost for health care). My observation was that standard of living for mid incomes are comparable.

I would suggest getting something made in your current country of residence. Then there are no worries concerning import issues.

With these import rates, I am afraid it becomes an important factor in the choice.

UK: The overseas cost will incorporate VAT, import duties, etc, etc. The dealer will want 40% - 50% mark-up or he won’t sell PS Audio. Kevin Akam will be on 10 – 15% . K A will have to deal with UK customs, distribution, setting up dealers to sell the product. (Still no dealers in Scotland!) Advertising: Two page centre spread, plus the inside cover on a rear page (monthly) UK, HiFi Comic(s) will COST!! Setting up for HiFi Shows. Making a living - and paying out wages, national insurance stamps, tax, etc, etc… all this comes at considerable cost. So how else would it work selling overseas.?

I accepted all of this when I sought out and bought PS Audio products: I paid full whack, no trade-in deals. If I want an easier option then I buy from UK based companies… ‘Which I have been doing again of late’!


Pretty simple accurate explanation.
You also have overseas shipping and insurance which can be $350 per unit or more.


That is not a valid explanation. PS Audio’s MRSP already includes 60 % allowance for shipping and sales channel, that is 1800 US$ of the 2990 US$ MSRP. 1800 US$ should already cover for 350 US$ transportation.

In the US shipping from Colorado to New York or Texas also costs money as well and that money which is already included in the MSRP even in the past when PS Audio had to ship to dealers.

I get that it is somewhat more expensive to ship to Europe but charging the customer ADDITIONAL 1570 US$ Is quit overdone.

The most unfavorably model is:
MSRP in EURO: with exchange rate paying for the extra shipping cost, then there is the 21% EU sales tax which results in a total sales price of 3.600,00 EURO on which sufficient margin can be made. 3.990,00 EURO seems like a cash cow.

But, since we currently have bigger problems than improving Audio Quality in our homes, I will not consider new Audio equipment till we got through this health crisis which will make business we work for suffer, business of family and friends suffer and certain families might need additional support.

Therefore many of us will need to reconsider on what we are going to spend our money.

Elk you see the evidence above, the 43% extra are no gossip or bashing the 43% extra for overseas customers are a fact.

I own Harbeth speakers, and it would never occur to me to go on their website and bash their cost in the US, though they are similarly “inflated” so to speak. Had I not gotten a good deal on the SHL5’s used from Steven, I likely wouldn’t have bought them. Subsequently paid full US retail for P3’s.

Ya, I similarly have 3 pairs of UK Spendor speakers and US prices for them much higher than in UK, comparatively. But worth it to me to have the best of the best (haha, that’s a joke before anyone takes offense, but to me and my ears they are the best for their price range anyway, for me).

Dirk explained it perfectly. The importer has the right to make a living too. You could inquire about becoming the EU importer if you were interested. Then you could make the markup low enough that you could not stay in business. Once the Corona Virus scare stops the worlds shipping lanes it wont matter as there wont be any goods moving overseas in any direction.

Badbeef, get the facts right, here is what the price differences on the Harbeths are between the UK and US.

UK price Harbeth Super HL5plus: GBP 3.279,00
US$ 6.695,00 Jan 6, 2015.

Exchange rate on Jan 6, 2015, based on credit card rate was 1.57446 US$ to the GBP
So in the UK cost was US$ 5,163.00 while charged in the US US$ 6.695,00, thus a mark up of 30%, not 43% like PS Audio is marking up.

The likes of Apple and ELAC have less price differences.

Yes he has, but the mark up is unreasonable, either PS Audio who already have 60% margin for the sales chain in the MSRP is charging the importer too much or the importer wants more than making a living.

43% mark up on top of MRSP is disproportional to the real cost and what other companies in similar situations charge.

The EU price of the Stellar phono (converted back to dollar) is ~25% more than the tax to be added…so in Germany it’s 45% more expensive in than the US price (3600 vs. 2500$).

Now take into account further PSA reduction campaigns in the US and you know why it can be interesting to have gear shipped overseas as long as power transformers can be switched for matching to countries (e.g. in Class D gear possibly)

How do you know I am wrong with all the projected costs as stated – involved in setting up distribution and selling PS Audio in the UK. I run my own business. (not HiFi - I made real money!) You always speak with such authority on the subject, like you have this great knowledge and insight required to sell PS Audio products in the UK.

You’ve already mentioned the PS Audio products you own, but without me investigating, I can’t remember/don’t know how many.?
If the overseas pricing structure rankles with you then buy another make that you can afford. It is that easy. If you find the price too high then you cannot afford to buy. It’s a buyers market. Deals can be found elsewhere! Why stress.?!


The increased prices go both ways.

I buy parts for my BMW superbike (S1000RR), etc. from a seller in Germany who then ships them to me. It is much cheaper to do so than to purchase from a distributor in the states. I similarly buy Ducati parts in Italy, as well as AGV helmets (made in Italy).

The best price I could find for a Germany race helmet was in England, so I bought a German helmet from the English for much less than it cost in the States, even after paying the duty.

International trade is complicated.

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Because no where else have I seen these import mark ups. With no other brand, neither between Europe - America vice-versa, nor between Europe - Asia.

A couple of hundred Dollars or Euro’s yes, never 43% on top of native MRSP.

I have had a successful business for 35 years. I did not become successful by not knowing my costs, margins, fixed overhead, cost of inventory on hand, taxes, packaging, shipping, utilities, machinery, etc. etc. Until you are in that position you have no clue about real business costs. Like I said before just buy a component from your current country of residence then you will have a lot less stress to deal with and life will be better for you. The costs really don’t matter anyway if you are not buying. If you think a purchase is worth the asking price then it is a good value. Period.


Exactly. I bought PS Audio because I wanted the DS DAC! It is a wonderful product, the £5,500 I paid back in 2014 was money well spent… I would pay double that today due to the increase in performance over 6 years of ownership… I own a Linn Klimax DS, which cost twice the price of the DS back in 2014, I much prefer the DS DAC…!