Wow, I will add my 2cents.
This is a topic we manufacturers most concern with.
Audiophiles/music lovers who are in their 50s are enjoying their audio hobby as high-end components are getting cheaper and better. Internet allows them to find a lot of good non pop musics. Those who are older are downsizing with all-in-one integrated amp.
These customers are keeping the few high-end manufacturers on "life support". I kid you not.
Just look at the industry. Most audio brands have been bought and consolidated. And if they are still around, just a shadow of their former self. How many high-end audio companies are truly investing in R&D instead of just packaging or customising off-the-shelf stuff?
I think the problems that drive high-end audio to the ground (lets be honest, high-end audio has been on life support for several years already) are well understood. There are enough blames to go around - greedy manufacturers and dealers, the trend, lots of expensive gadgets (my family spent thousands of $ on phones and tablets) to take your time away, easier to travel, the music industry, lifestyle change (do families still gather in the living room after dinner?), and so on.
At some point a vicious cycle started to spiral out of control. And here we are.
NuPrime is probably one of the last few (may be the only one left) high-end manufacturers still working on fundamental amplifier R&D (by the way, we just achieve a breakthrough but that's not the point here), and we have some tough decision to make. Do we just give up and focus on making premium < $1000 all-in-one and just go with the flow, until we get put out of our misery by some premium Amazon or Apple speaker, or we find a way out ?
We reached the following observations:
In some part of the world (Asia, Europe), high-end audio is down but not out. Younger consumers don't want to pay for insane prices but are starting to look for good sounding stereo components. As the Millennials get older and into their 40s, their lifestyle will change, and some will start to pay attention to audio (again). We are seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel, and this is what gives us hope.
But a lot of work lies ahead.
We have to spend a lot more effort on educating consumers about audio.
We have to continue to innovate and make our products even more affordable.
We are a tiny company. All we need is a small slice of a small premium audio market and we will be doing just fine.