Why is music gear so expensive in Europe??

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Soko, Nov 2, 2012.


  1. Soko

    Soko

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Spain
    This days I have been looking for a new amp and I compared the price between Europe and USA... come on!! Globalization meant no barriers and this stuff.

    The difference between gear can be 200$ or more easily :rollno:
  2. placedesjardins

    placedesjardins

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    I think it has to do with the cost of living in Europe. Middle man and retailer charge more.
    I look at European retail store listings of music instruments on eBay. Not including shipping, they are charging more than that day's exchange rate equivalent in US dollars.
  3. Simo98

    Simo98

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    Hah! Come to Australia for a while, the difference can be 200-300% easily. With the way our exchange rate has gone in recent years it makes it painful to even look at instrument prices in the US.

    Mostly it comes down to cost of living, minimum wage, CPI, etc. I make over $20 an hour, the average person in the US doing my job probably clears 10 if they're lucky. Waiting tables here makes you $25 a hour and my 12 year old brother earns $12.80 an hour.

    Combine that with costs of distribution, and that the US is one of the largest volume markets in the world (meaning they can sell more product at a lower margin) and is a very highly competitive market and you have your answer.



    What really pains me is the prices of digital products and media. To buy a digital download of a new release AAA videogame in Australia you pay at least $80, where you'd pay half that in the US generally. The only real difference is a slightly increased cost due to licensing and approval for Australia, the actual product and distribution method incurs no extra cost, yet we're charged almost twice the price.

    It comes down to what the consumer is willing to pay, and most people are willing to part with a certain percentage of their weekly paycheque for entertainment purposes, no matter what the actual lump sum is worth.
  4. i_got_a_mohawk

    i_got_a_mohawk

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Edinburgh & Dundee, Scotland
    Yep. What costs $1000 in the US can cost £1000 ($1600) or more here. Differences in currency, cost of living, distributed cost, import taxes, heck, Value Added Taxes (VAT) are generally between 15 and 25% too (basically a sales tax), which doesn't help.
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  6. bassybill

    bassybill The smooth moderator... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Media:
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    Location:
    West Midlands UK
    Don't forget differences due to place of origin and shipping/import costs. American made gear is always going to be more over here than it is in the US, but the converse is true as well. British made gear is really pricey over there.
  7. Soko

    Soko

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Spain
    That's true but, in some cases buying American gear and paying all the taxes and all this medieval customs things, is cheaper than buying the same here! This is why I don't get the point for such expensive prices.
  8. placedesjardins

    placedesjardins

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Oh, so you want to send one of us money in order to buy you an amp here in the US and then ship it to you under the guise of present/gift? ;)
    Canadians do that to circumvent tariff/duties if they have a friend or relative on the border.
  9. bassybill

    bassybill The smooth moderator... Supporting Member

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    Mar 12, 2005
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    Location:
    West Midlands UK
    Soko, placedesjardins - please fill out your locations in your profiles. Thank you.
  10. Soko

    Soko

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Spain
    The gift trick doesn't work at all. If the seller is a store, you will have to pay taxes yes or yes. And if the seller is a "friend" then pray god.

    When you buy outside EU you should calculate the final price taking in mind customs. If they don't stop your packet, then better for you. But just in case, be prepared :p
  11. carlos840

    carlos840

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Location:
    Down in the middle somewhere.
    If it was only gear!

    I just came back from 10 days in NYC and the difference in price is incredible...
    We really get screwed so badly in europe.
    Most famous brand sell for the same figure in the US as they sell for in pounds or euro in europe.
    They don't bother doing a conversion, they just change the currency.

    Levi's jeans for example sell for 65$ list price, and we buy them £65 in the UK which is almost a 50% mark up.

    Same thing for Schott jackets, 550 dollars in the US, 550 pounds in the UK.

    A really surreal one was the Burberry trench coats, an English brand, they sell for 1295 dollars in the US and 1295 pounds in the UK, that is 800 dollars more for something supposed to come from england! Well turkey actually, but still it makes no sens.
  12. Soko

    Soko

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Spain
    :rollno:

    Like Apple hardware.
    A recent example:

    Ipad Mini
    - USA 329$
    - EU 329€=420$
  13. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    $200 on what?

    There the sales tax that is included in displayed price, unlike in the US where your state might have sales tax and it is not included in the displayed price even if the seller is in your state.

    Customs are generally low, IIRC 3% for electronics and the like.

    So on a $1000 bass you can have $200 in taxes in no time. But a MA resident would also be liable for $65 extra.
  14. 1958Bassman

    1958Bassman

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Don't a lot of European countries have VAT? Tariffs, duties, local tax rate, transportation costs all add up when you're farther from the country of origin, unfortunately.

    However, I'm not advocating that we use a One World government, health care, currency, insurance, or anything else.
  15. Muziekschuur

    Muziekschuur

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Location:
    Stavenisse
    Right... USA prices at Sweetwater are without taxes. Once those taxes are laid on the price the difference with gear prices in Holland are not that big?

    1200 dollar for an USA standard precision (without taxes) (Sweetwater today...)
    959 euro at Thomann... (with taxes)

    959 euro= 1200 dollar.... So USA precisons are cheaper in Europe?
  16. placedesjardins

    placedesjardins

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Hi,
    I clicked on "My TalkBass", then I clicked on "Edit Profile" and there is no place to provide location unless it is somewhere else.
  17. No Neck Shrek

    No Neck Shrek

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Location:
    Columbus,Ohio
    Its under additional info. on the "Edit Profile" section.
  18. cronker

    cronker

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Australia is notoriously expensive for "luxury" items.
    About 6 years ago, I bought my SR5 lefty, made to my specs, sight unseen and paid almost $4k for it.
    Nowadays, we are in parity with the US$, yet we still pay at least $2.5 for a MIA Fender.

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