I dunno. There are all kinds of people that seem to enjoy audio and home theater. I am fortunate to live in an area that has a decent number of physical stores to demo gear and also has the large annual AXPONA show. There are just as many people looking for "good sound at good prices" as their people willing to spend a fortune -- http://hifitrends.com/2019/04/16/axpona-2019-show-report-high-end-audio-in-pictures/
The fact is the "well known for engineering prowess" firms have all kinds of bugs in their gear -- https://www.audioholics.com/av-preamp-processor-reviews/nad-m17v2
Ultimately it comes down to what sorts of "product experiences" happen.
Cambridge Audio has a retail store in one of the most "hipster" of Chicago's neighborhoods and they host interesting events like this one -- https://www.facebook.com/events/386431072212814/
Firms like Emotiva spend lots on more promotions than Outlaw but who knows how if that really translates into better profitability.
Meanwhile the CSO endured its longest strike in history -- https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/27/arts/music/chicago-symphony-strike.html
Months ago Audio Consultants, who remains very heavily focused on traditional high end symphony type consumers, shuttered two of its three stores.
It is sort of weird but I bet if I were to ask my 17 year old or their friends if they have any idea what "Gateway" was they would shrug. In contrast if I asked them where the best place to try out new computers might be I am pretty darned sure they'd say "Apple Store". I continue to believe that while the sentiment of "best place to try out audio gear is in our own home" is accurate there still is a HUGE need to have a good "showroom experience". http://www.outlawaudio.com/about/about2.html
The pendulum swings -- https://www.twice.com/retailing/svs-expands-dealer-sales-38955