Just some thoughts.
brands -some almost local
The "made in America" BMX frame market is kinda like that. Whatever state a frame is made in; that is the local favorite and potentially the surrounding area's too.
The RV slide in camper market is like that too. They are made in the NW and Cali and are most popular in that part of the country. ( http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/buyers-guide/
Caution kites are popular in the area they are in? (check out their Switch like prices)
Did Best used to be the majority in Florida(and maybe NewYork?)?
SlingShot in Hood River?
Does Epic rule the OBX?
Cabrinha, Naish, Wainman in Maui?
Must be at least two handfuls of brands that don't really have global sales or representation.
It seems like in the near future, the remaining kite companies will be the ones either:
Part of a larger diversified company and as long as the kite company is still making money, or potentially even if it's losing money; it could be used as a tax write off?
Ran as a hobby or just for fun so as long as it's not costing massive money to keep going.
Best had it made till they changed that one kite model in 2010 and everyone bailed. At one time; Best kites weren't so much the best; they were just the cheapest. Then when they no longer had that one model and they were just as expensive if not more so then the rest; no reason to purchase if something better is out. Other brands are just more compelling right now.
Best grew big until the market dropped off; now they potentially have huge payroll, big office, and advertising costs. They are going to have to go back to moving huge volumes of kites at smaller margins instead of trying to make ~$1,000 profit per kite. Be like Ozone and work from home(that's the image they give at least). Best advertises like crazy; but non of that sells or persuades any experienced kiter to drop cash on a new Best kite. No current Best products are on my buy list.
A bad economy and as expensive as ever kites just don't mix. Switch will make it through; I don't know about the rest of them. They can keep raising prices to try and make payroll and keep the lights on; but that's not going to grow the market or increase sales.
The price of a bar these days is more then a kite used to cost!http://www.bestkiteboarding.com/RP-Bar-V3 http://www.kite-line.com/kiteboardingbars/north