Evolution and Revolution in the Hi-Fi Sector

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Evolution and Revolution in the Hi-Fi Sector

Professor Robert MacIntosh

1. Introduction

The Hi-Fi case is a short case which explores the strategic choices facing specialist hi-fi

manufacturers as the market around them changes. The UK has a strong presence in the

specialist Hi-Fi sector, and is home to many of the best hi-fi manufacturers in the world. Many

of these firms have already experienced one round of upheaval as the industry moved from vinyl

to CD as the dominant recording medium. They now face far bigger challenges with the growth

of online, digital and portable music sources. The case offers students the opportunity to reflect

on a number of themes such as the segments of the market under consideration, the competences

required to compete in new areas, the business model required and the basis of competitive

advantage. However, the primary focus of the case is around the barriers facing small players in

global markets.

2. Position of the Case

The case study is concerned with the strategic choices facing small, independent specialist hi-fi

manufacturers. It is positioned to support the material on industry dynamics in Chapter 2 and

business level strategy in Chapter 6

3. Learning Objectives

The case is intended to help students to develop the ability to:

�� Critically evaluate changes in an industry.

�� Translate environmental and technological changes into specific implications for individual


�� Develop strategic options for firms facing rapidly changing markets.

4. Teaching Scheme

This short case can be used in two ways. First, it can be used as a break out session in class

where individuals or groups are asked the discussion questions below on the basis of their first

reactions. Second, the case can be used in more traditional form where the students take the

position of different types of firms (traditional hi-fi manufacturers, AVI, hi-fi retailers,

computing firms, or other potential new entrant firms such as...