Toronto Audiofest took place at the Toronto Westin Airport Hotel in the west end of the city from October 18-20, 2019. Today, just over a week later, organizer Michel Plante has released specifics about who was there. And WiFi HiFi has the exclusive.
Total attendee numbers were 3,662, 3513 of which were customers (the remainder were industry badges). For the majority of attendees (61%), this was their first year attending the show; while audiofest has been running for some time in Montreal, 2019 marks the second annual event in Toronto. The remaining 39% of attendees were, of course, returning visitors who were also there last year.
Not surprisingly, most of the attendees were male, as Plante told us based on anecdotal observations last week, with 84% of those in attendance being men compared to just 15% of women. For next year, Plante is hoping to find new ways to attract more women to the show. The remaining 1% declared their gender as "other."
As is typical in the hifi space, most of the attendees were also 55 and older. However, this is something the industry collectively is trying to change. However, those aged 55 and older only represented 39% of people at the event, which suggests that younger generations are beginning to embrace hifi: 29% of attendees were between 40 and 55 and 32% were under 40. This year's event introduced a new demo room called AudioTeens featuring audio equipment selected by and for teenagers, aimed at introducing Generation-Z to better and shared sound through speakers versus earbuds. However, Plante did not have numbers noting how many 13-19-year-olds attended.
These attendance figures show that while the core demographic for hifi still remains the same - 55 and older men - the tide is starting to change. What would be interesting to know for next year, should Plante be able to procure these stats, is how many of the female attendees came with men and how many attended on their own? If we could break up the "under 40" category to indicate how many people under 30, or even 25, were there as well, that would provide some insight into Gen-X versus Gen-Y attendees. Also worth gauging: do these folks actually have the disposable income to spend on hifi gear which, though not always, can be pretty pricy? And do they have the intent to do so? What's more, did any show-goers actually make purchases at the show, either from manufacturers directly and/or through exhibiting retailers, or set up follow-up appointments to meet with reps at a retail or hifi shop in their area to learn more and finalize a sale?
Either way, that the weekend show, only in its second year, was able to attract more than 3,500 people is a testament to the fact that hifi is still alive and well, and customers are hungry to learn about what's new in the category.
Two raffles were held during the Toronto audiofest for big hifi packages with gear from various manufacturers. The prize winners were Robert Glenny of Scarborough, ON and Karen Zou of Richmond Hill.
As the first prize winner, Glenny received an integrated amplifier from Heaven 11, speakers from Totem, a turntable from Gold Note, cartridge from Grado, turntable platform from IsoAcoustic, disc washer machine from Kirmuss, vinyl transit 33.33, and cables from Asona. The total prize value was $10,000.
With a prize value of $2,000, Zou took home a Yamaha integrated amp, Kanto speakers, Music Hall turntable, Denon CD player, and an Eki-Table turntable platform.
Robert Glenny (right), grand prize winner of a raffle that took place at Toronto audiofest 2019, poses with show organizers Michel Plante (left) and Sarah Tremblay (centre). Glenny took home a prize package worth $10,000 that included equipment from Totem, Grado, IsoAcoustic, and more.