[quote=Utah49]Is anyone else missing those days when the Us Dollar was so strong against The Euro? Those days when every ski and binding on their site was so cheap it was a sin to pass up the deal?QUOTE]
Well, yes and no. (The confusion stems from how the exchange rate affects the relative prices of goods actually produced in the U.S. vs. foreign countries, and how it affects the relative prices of foreign goods purchased from a U.S. vs. foreign retailer.) The strength of the U.S. dollar when purchasing, say, a Scarpa backcountry skiing boot really doesn’t make any difference between:
- buying the boot from t-p.com, which in turn bought it from the French distributor, which in turn bought it from Scarpa;
- buying the boot from your local shop, which in turn bought it from the American distributor (i.e., bdel.com), which in turn bought in from Scarpa.
The role of the exchange rate there just cancels out.
Short-term fluctuations throughout the ski season can make a big difference though. (That is, if the dollar suddenly gets stronger, then t-p.com prices instantly get better, but it's not like the price at the local shop on existing stock is suddenly going to decrease.)
The far bigger difference is made through some combination of the price-setting decisions on behalf of the manufacturer and the U.S. distributor. When the dollar had been consistently strong several years back, that should have made the local price and the t-p price for, say, the Diamir equally cheap. But no, the t-p price was about $160, and the local price was about $340. That had nothing to do with exchange rates, and everything to do with what economists call “price discrimination,” i.e., charge different prices for the same good or service to different groups based on their perceived willingness to pay.
And if you look at the retail prices this fall for some gear (especially the new Garmont Adrenalin, as well as the increasingly popular Dynafit bindings), this phenomenon appears to be happening again.