Sonos has announced that it is raising the price of its products in the UK, saying that recent currency fluctuations after Brits voted to exit the European Union – Brexit – render its existing prices “unsustainable”.
From 23 February, Sonos’ range of speakers and other audio devices will cost around 16%-17% more in the UK. For example, a Play:5 speaker’s price will rise from £429 to £499, while a Playbar will rise from £599 to £699.
“Our prices are defined regionally. In the UK, this includes local taxation and import duties, but we pay for everything we make in US dollars,” explained Sonos in a message on its website.
“Over recent months, there has been a significant change on the US Dollar to GBP exchange rate. As a result, our existing pricing has become unsustainable and, like many other companies, we have to increase prices for all products priced in GBP.”
The silver lining for Sonos, mind, is that by announcing its changes 10 days ahead of it actually happening may nudge Brits into getting their wallets out to beat the price rise.
The fact that Sonos hardware designed as a multi-speaker, multi-room system means there may be plenty of customers in the UK who’ve been thinking of buying an extra speaker, for example.
The move comes as Sonos continues its attempted reinvention in the face of competition from voice-activated speakers like Amazon’s Echo. Sonos showed off an integration with Amazon’s Alexa assistant at a recent event for journalists, and recently appointed a new CEO from within to replace existing boss John MacFarlane.
MacFarlane has been honest about Sonos’ need to reinvent its business. “I fell into that trap where I’ve been watching voice recognition for years. I tried Echo in the beginning and wrote it off. I had too many distractions at that time. I wasn’t playing at the level I should have been playing at in all frankness,” he told the New York Times in January.
This week, his replacement Patrick Spence told CNET that Sonos sees an opportunity to fulfil a similarly neutral role for voice-recognition and smart assistant technology (Alexa included) that it has for music-streaming services.
“In the home there are those multiple people that may not rely on one particular voice service but instead multiple ones and we think that’s very, very important,” said Spence.