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#122039 - 02/18/08 06:28 AM How do prices compare in different countries?
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
I just bought a piano here in London.
I cannot compare with what happens in other countries because I never bought a piano anywhere else, but still I am curious.

Can anyone tell me how his or her perception is about how the prices compare in different countries?

On the internet is difficult because very often there are no prices, when there are they are often pretty stupid official prices which noone would pay and because one never knows if and what sales taxes etc. one has to calculate.

Has anyone experience of, say, GB vs US or Germany vs. France etc?
Thanks
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#122040 - 02/18/08 07:52 AM Re: How do prices compare in different countries?
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2011
Loc: Belgium
Innominato,

What you are asking might well be the most difficult exercice imaginable: compare prices between countries, even continents.

If you want to compare prices between the UK and the US you certainly remember the very long thread about pricing transparency in the US in which you participated yourself here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/21049/5.html#000121

I added some comments in that thread too http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/21049/4.html#000081 and because after having read many pages of it and can only be concluded there is no transparency in the US at all, I will not try making price comparisons between the US and countries in Europe.

As you also know for the US some put forward the Larry Fine price list as a reference, but others will then question it's final relevance. Others refer to the Blue Book of Pianos as a pricing reference for the US (http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/wwwcatalog.htm), but then you read these prices are highly 'inflated'.

For Europe my impression is that for the traditional brands (i.e. excluding the skimmy private labels) prices are quite consistant throughout Europe.

* the recommended selling prices (MRSP) do not vary much from country to country; because they have to include VAT, they may vary slightly if you have e.g a country where the VAT rate is 21% (Belgium) or 19% (Germany, the Netherlands)
* the discounts on those MRSP also fit within a narrow range for these brands and accross Europe (10 - 15%)- stock clearance sales excluded; even the big internet sellers in Germany mostly stick to this (www.musicstore.de and www.thomann.de)
* France seems to be a bit on the highish side for Kawai (some 5% above e.g. Belgium, Germany)
* It appears to me that Yamaha might well be 'the biggest discounter' in Europe, e.g. in the UK aswell as in Germany.
* For Yamaha sales online one should always be aware there might be quite some parallel imports from other countries in Europe (e.g. one dealer buying overstocks from another).
* If a model from a known brand appears much favourably priced with one dealer care should be taken this is not an 'older' model (e.g. a Yamaha C from before the C-series model upgrade during the summer 2007) or a model that is being phased out (e.g. Petrof P III)
* Sometimes there are surprises indeed and one thinks there is a good deal to be made. E.g. Brodmann BG 187 for € 11,750.00 in Ireland http://www.precisionpianos.com/showroom....%21&posted=true where the going price on the continent is between € 15,900.00 and 16,000.00. One should of course first check whether or not Precision Pianos' website is still up to date.
* When differences of 4 - 5% occur this is often related to the fact that some dealers do not automatically increase the price of a stock piano whenever there is the annual price increase, while others do as to anticipate stock. replacement.
* Do not forget to check transport charges when buying in a foreign country.

To summarize as I personally always look for value (that is including the dealer competences and service) and not for price, based on the above I was never tempted buying from another country that is hundreds of kms away.

schwammerl.

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#122041 - 02/19/08 12:30 PM Re: How do prices compare in different countries?
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Thanks Schwammerl for your very complete answer, I would also never dream of buying a piano from a different country...

But being new of this world, I had hoped that there was a broad consensus about where we are in general.

I am more interested to know whether, say, the make XY can shift his piano in the Uk at 30% more than in Continental Europe because his UK clients are ready to pay more for the brand....; or to know whether the person buying a piano identical to mine in Belgium or Germany would pay substantially less or substantially more than I did......

From the interesting information that you give it would appear that, in general, the market works pretty well and prices are fairly constant, with some exceptions, but not extreme ones.

Which is good for me, because here in the UK one pays, say, for the same hi-fi or piece of funiture or motorbikes substantially more than he would pay in Italy or Germany; whilst for other articles (eg new cars, clothing) the differences are less marked and for still other articles (eg used luxury cars) you would probably pay substantially less in my perception.

Thanks again
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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#122042 - 02/19/08 01:05 PM Re: How do prices compare in different countries?
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2011
Loc: Belgium
Innominato,

I was looking at some UK dealer websites this afternoon.

And for many brands it is in fact rather the opposite, i.e. better prices in the UK than on the continent.

If I would be buying on price only, for many brands I would be tempted to cross the Channel: Yamaha, Kemble, Brodmann, Boston, Essex, Steinway and even some Germans like Blüthner.

This is probably related to the fact you have quite a few big dealers overthere.
One I often check as a reference is Besbrode, Leeds: http://www.besbrodepianos.co.uk/

You say prices for cars are now more in line with e.g. Germany.
That is good news because I remember the days (been working for a British company for many years) that the UK salespeople were always complaining about car prices!

schwammerl.

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#122043 - 02/20/08 01:14 PM Re: How do prices compare in different countries?
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
Hi Schwammerl, that's good news.. ;\)

Whilst I would not advise you to cross the channel to buy a piano for the reasons already agreed, it is beautiful to know that I live in a country with a competitive price strusture... this encourages me to trade as soon as I woll be able to easily afford it.. \:\)

As far as the cars are concerned, until not many years ago taxes were much higher than in continental Europe, subsequently UE harmonisation forced the government to reduce taxation; the same has happened eg for wines...

Particularly notable is that if you buy a luxury car (say, a Range Rover or a big Mercedes or Jaguar, particularly if limousine), the depreciation is brutal and I'd say certainly more than you'd have by the money-savvy Germans, whilst the right-hand drive does not allow an easy export to Germany...

Living here I notice how many things have changed n Central London since first I visited it in 1991; more wine dealers than in Italy; Starbucks, Caffe Nero & Co. everywhere..... it has even become extremely difficult to find a "Fish & Chips"... ;\)
_________________________
"The man that hath no music in himself / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." (W.Shakespeare)

Kemble Conservatoire 335025 Walnut Satin

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