The Life Style Story

SoundMag - - Contents -

There’s a grow­ing con­sen­sus within the high-end sound mar­ket that the in­dus­try’s big­gest chal­lenge is yet to come – that of court­ing the younger, mil­len­nial mar­ket. It’s the in­dus­try-wide pivot ev­ery­one is try­ing to ac­com­plish - and Par­ra­matta’s Life Style Store is al­ready sev­eral steps ahead.

The store’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Vinod ChristieDavid says that his store has been de­signed and built with the grow­ing di­vide be­tween the young and old in mind.

“You’ve got the tra­di­tional hi-fi cus­tomer who comes in and the younger cus­tomer who doesn’t un­der­stand hi-fi and is just look­ing for sound,” he says.

Ac­cord­ing to Vinod, the growth op­por­tu­ni­ties here are “sig­nif­i­cant” and the only thing sep­a­rat­ing th­ese cus­tomers from mak­ing their next hi-fi pur­chase is a good education.

“We’ve mod­elled the showroom very much [with that in mind],” he says.

Lo­cated near the com­mer­cial heart of North Par­ra­matta, The Life Style Store’s two-floor showroom fea­tures 16 home en­ter­tain­ment demon­stra­tion rooms in­clud­ing seven ded­i­cated cus­tom home the­atre rooms, two speaker com­par­i­son rooms and seven hi-fi mu­sic rooms.

Vinod says that “there is no bet­ter way” to demon­strate the po­ten­tial of high-res­o­lu­tion au­dio and au­dio sys­tems than in per­son, and that’s a task the Life Style Store is well-equipped to han­dle.

“We can take peo­ple through dif­fer­ent lev­els of sys­tems. Show them what a $1000 sys­tem sounds like.”

“For us we see both home the­atre and speak­ers as very im­por­tant.”

He says that the two floors of the store al­low them to keep and ser­vice both mar­kets, “prop­erly with proper demon­stra­tions.”

“The mar­ket is not just a cash and carry sale, that for cus­tomers to truly get the value from what they’re buy­ing and feel com­fort­able in the high value of the pur­chase”

Dy­nau­dio Room

Linn Room

“We’ve had dou­ble-digit per­cent­age growth in all three cat­e­gories [over] the last few years,” Vinod says. As a re­sult, he says, the busi­ness is “con­tin­u­ing to in­vest back into demon­stra­tion fa­cil­i­ties.”

The chief chal­lenge for re­tail­ers like The Life Style Store then be­comes less about sell­ing younger cus­tomers on the ben­e­fits of high-end au­dio and more about get­ting them in-store in the first place.

Vinod says that while the Life Style Store has done some print ad­ver­tis­ing, those chan­nels just aren’t

reach­ing that mil­len­nial mar­ket.

“A lot of the mil­len­ni­als don’t look at that as much,” he says.

Vinod says that the car au­dio com­po­nent of his busi­ness has helped them make some in-roads here.

He says “A lot of them start in car au­dio. They’ll buy their first car sys­tem, and as they get older they’ll get mar­ried and buy a a home and want a home sys­tem. It’s part of [our] sys­tem of ser­vic­ing the cus­tomer over a long pe­riod of time.”

PMC & Plin­ius Room

Vi­enna Acous­tics & Pri­mare Room

Some­thing else that catches the eye of mil­len­ni­als is brand­ing.

“It is the brands that at­tract them first be­cause they don’t un­der­stand it,” Vinod says.

He says wire­less stream­ing play­ers like Sonos are key here.

“I think for that younger seg­ment they ex­pect to have tech­nolo­gies like wire­less [and] stream­ing. It’s a start­ing point for them and learn­ing it’s sim­ple to get a bet­ter sound than that of their

smart­phone speaker,” he sug­gests.

He says the rapid growth of wire­less sound is one driven by both parts of the sound mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “the mil­len­nial will ac­cept it faster be­cause they un­der­stand it but the older mar­ket will make an ef­fort to un­der­stand it be­cause they want it.”

Vinod notes that while demon­stra­tions, mar­ket­ing in­for­ma­tion and on­line ar­ti­cles all have a role to play in ed­u­cat­ing mil­len­ni­als about high-res­o­lu­tion au­dio, “one of the hin­drances has been in con­tent.”

He says “A lot of sites are avail­able over­seas but not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble if you live in Aus­tralia. It’s not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for our lo­cal mar­ket. If it’s hard for them to get dig­i­tal con­tent, they’re not go­ing to source some­thing”

That said, he’s hope­ful that the even­tual in­volve­ment of ma­jor stream­ing play­ers like Ap­ple or Spo­tify could pave the way for fur­ther growth.

“I think they will go down that path, I think that will hap­pen,” he says, “as cus­tomers get into mu­sic, and they want the next step up and some­where to go to - that is ob­vi­ously the next step for them.”

Trends also sug­gest it’s the nat­u­ral next step for the in­dus­try as a whole. Vinod says “the dig­i­tal side is very strong” and that head­phones and wire­less play­back is poised for a big Christ­mas sea­son in 2016.

“Cus­tom-speak­ers, in-wall, in-ceil­ing, stealth and in­vis­i­ble speak­ers are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar as peo­ple don’t want to see big speak­ers in their rooms.”

“When we do com­plete home in­stal­la­tions - bring­ing mu­sic into four, five, six rooms in the house - they’re happy to see it in a the­atre room maybe in a main lis­ten­ing en­vi­ron­ment but around the rest of the house, aes­thet­ics are very im­por­tant.”

He goes on to say that “the love for mu­sic and the ac­tual in­ter­ac­tion has im­proved a lot, which is why things like turnta­bles, ana­logue mu­sic, ex­pe­ri­ence based play­back has im­proved. I think both seg­ments are im­por­tant.”

“I think the younger mar­ket are dis­cov­er­ing some­thing they just never knew ex­isted. That they’ve never done be­fore. It’s that lit­tle bit of in­volve­ment in mu­sic. It’s a lit­tle bit less of that in­stant so­ci­ety that they’ve grown up with.”

“You’ve got to get in­volved and ac­tu­ally got to lis­ten to the mu­sic from start to fin­ish. All the lit­tle things like the al­bum cov­ers give them a more in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence of the artist than what they had.”

One of the 7 Cus­tom The­atre Rooms

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