Sad but very believable, and I find it interesting to hear from a piano maker. I've seen several (fairly rich) people buy a piano to learn it but then drop out after a month, or outright buy it just for the chic aspect. I can't help but feel a little tinge when I see a beautiful grand sitting unused in a living room, when the kids at school have to do with a decaying, out of tune upright.
Regardless, it's great news if people who don't play keep purchasing instruments - it increases the size of the market and drives down the costs for people who do play but don't have money, like me.
I think the most important thing he brings is the personal attention. Something like a piano is going to have a lot of variance in mass production, especially with cheap parts. Just having an expert look it over and set it up is worth his price. Adding higher quality parts is just a nice bonus.