Tough to be a bricks-and-mortar ham radio store.
Reality is where the once 40% on a $400 HT was only just enough to support attending Ham Fests and keeping a store open, the skinny 20% on a $75 HT just doesn’t keep the lights running.
Traditional segmentation of ham radio outlets is changing.
Formerly we had Solid Big Name ham specialty shops with catalogues, mostly featuring lower price point commodity manufacturers sprinkled with a few premium products.
Welcome the New Order where Discount Imports take a big chunk from both Solid Big Names and even from the lower price point commodity manufacturers who sell direct.
At the same time costs to have a real store are escalating – fuel, insurances, government regulation, … almost every cost a domestic real-store ham radio shop faces is up.
Enter the “Internet Ham Radio Store,” and (we shouldn’t be surprised) now Internet Retailers like Amazon.com Forget about bricks-and-mortar retail stores, you just log on and buy.
We’re also buying from overseas via eBay and other websites, even if the product is “running naked” in terms of support and in some cases certifications compared to domestically supported products.
Be certain Discount Import HF rigs will follow soon.
There is a difference – and as long as the measurable quality difference remains between direct import and established regular gear, the Solid Big Name and Premium Products sellers are going to be less impacted than the difficulties the former price-point leading “lower price point commodity manufacturers” will face.
Times they are a changing….