Cheapest countries to buy iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products

In our never-ending quest to sort out the best-value destinations around the world, we are examining a topic that is certainly more of interest to long-term travelers as well as those who travel a lot with gadgets. Below you’ll find the countries to buy cheap apple products, or at least as cheap as they are available, because Apple products aren’t exactly cheap anywhere in the world.

We recently published a list of the cheapest countries to buy electronic items in general, but we separated Apple products into their own list because the Apple world doesn’t work the same as other brands.

>>>NEW WITH MORE COMPLETE DATA: iPad prices in 35 countries from cheapest to most expensive

(The article linked above uses late 2012 prices for iPads in 35 countries. The article below uses 2011 prices for 28 countries)

As with the other list, the data here is provided by Pricerunner, which is a UK-based comparison-shopping service. In late 2011 they researched the 28 different cities below (in 27 different countries) to find the best price possible for 3 different popular Apple products.

Unlike the other brands, Apple is famous for tightly controlling its retail market, with prices being virtually identical within each country. With that in mind, it’s perhaps even a bit more surprising to discover that the exact same products cost almost double in the most expensive city compared to the cheapest.

Products researched for this list

  • Macbook Air, 13.3″
  • Apple iPad 2 Wi-Fi, 32GB
  • Apple iPhone 4, 16GB

Each of the three items was researched in late 2011 for the prevailing price in each city, and then the total of all three was combined. The Macbook Air costs about the same price as the other two items combined in every market, but still most things are proportional so it’s not like there’s a city that has cheap iPhones and expensive Macbook Airs.

Cheapest countries for Apple products

(Research was done in GBP and converted to USD in March, 2012)

  1. $2,225 – Tokyo, Japan
  2. $2,446 – Bangkok, Thailand
  3. $2,548 – San Francisco, USA
  4. $2,601 – Sydney, Australia
  5. $2,745 – New York, USA
  6. $2,779 – Dubai, UAE
  7. $3,006 – Cape Town, South Africa
  8. $3,160 – Stockholm, Sweden
  9. $3,222 – Warsaw, Poland
  10. $3,264 – Prague, Czech Republic
  11. $3,280 – London, England
  12. $3,308 – Oslo, Norway
  13. $3,347 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  14. $3,411 – Dublin, Ireland
  15. $3,436 – Mumbai, India
  16. $3,452 – Copenhagen, Denmark
  17. $3,480 – Brussels, Belgium
  18. $3,484 – Madrid, Spain
  19. $3,516 – Moscow, Russia
  20. $3,544 – Paris, France
  21. $3,576 – Athens, Greece
  22. $3,591 – Reykjavik, Iceland
  23. $3,619 – Rome, Italy
  24. $3,645 – Lisbon, Portugal
  25. $3,646 – Helsinki, Finland
  26. $3,753 – Vilnius, Lithuania
  27. $3,800 – Vienna, Austria
  28. $4,160 – Sao Paolo, Brazil

Japan is cheapest again

Just as on the list of electronic gadgets in general, Japan comes out as the cheapest, which seems at least a bit surprising. Their high rents and high wages seem to be more than offset by low import taxes combined with great wholesale prices due to massive demand.

Perhaps just as surprising is that Stockholm comes out as the cheapest of the European markets researched for Apple products. They are among the most expensive for other electronics gear, and one of the most expensive places in the world in general. Cape Town also shows up as a relative bargain for Apple products compared to other high-tech gear.

Where to buy if you are traveling

Most people seem to know that the United States has among the lowest prices on almost anything electronic, especially if you can buy tax-free either online or in one of the states with no sales tax. Many people routinely bring an empty suitcase when coming from Europe to the US because savings are so big.

Most European countries seem to charge about 40% more for Apple products than in the United States, which is frightening when you consider how much more Apple products cost compared to other brands of the same type of item.

Needless to say, new Apple products will continue to be released, but the rankings above should continue to stay very constant, at least until some countries unexpectedly lowers taxes or Japan unexpectedly raises import duties.

With Apple products at least, it’s comforting to know that anyone heading to Australia or Thailand (plus Japan, of course) can also find great deals compared to home.

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All Comments

  1. telin says:

    I live in India, Delhi. I got my all Apple products from Glocalzone which is a website provides to buy things from abroad). So, I bought the MacBook pro at its US price via Glocalzone. It was totally cheaper.I recommend it!

  2. Ruby says:

    Hello Mr. Wade,

    I’m going to Malaysia next week is the macbook air still cheaper there than in Singapore? It would be great if you could update me with pirces in Malaysia. I hope I’m not asking too much.

    Thank you and God bless.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Ruby,

      I’m pretty sure Apple prices in Malaysia are still cheaper than in Singapore, and you can check yourself. Just go to the online Apple store and then go to the bottom where it allows you to change the country. You can see the current prices for any country in the world you choose. Best of luck on this. -Roger

  3. Sally says:

    I’m moving to Istanbul in August. I need a new i-phone and am wondering if it would be cheaper to purchase in Turkey or here in Canada?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Sally,

      I lived in Turkey for a year and electronics there aren’t very cheap. You can check the current prices of all items at the Apple stores all over the world. Here is the link for the online Apple Store in Turkey. Compare the prices to Canada and you’ll have your answer. -Roger

  4. Anna says:

    Hi, great article!
    I am researching the market for a Macbook Air 13 and I was wondering if you can advise me on where it is better to buy it: China or Japan? And do you know anything about the VAT they can impose in the airport in Japan if you’re taking it out of the country (I heard you shouldn’t have the box with you or something like that haha) I am travelling between these 2 countries and would be grateful if you can help. Thanks! Cheers!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Anna,

      My research has shown that Apple products are almost always cheaper in Japan than in China (or most other places). And I’m not sure how the VAT thing works between those two countries. If you bring a new computer in a box from one country to another, you might get charged a duty though, which is different from a VAT. A duty is an import tax on things above a certain value. I think if you take the laptop without the box, you should be fine. They mainly just want to make sure you aren’t buying in one country to sell in another. Good luck on this. -Roger

  5. aman says:

    i am from india. i want to buy a iPhone but which iPhone model should i buy when my range is 10000-12000 plz reply urgent

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Aman,

      If you have only 12,000 Indian Rupee, then you’ll have to buy a used iPhone or an older model like the iPhone 5. It’s probably easiest to just look around and buy the best one you can find and afford. Best of luck. -Roger

  6. Hans says:

    Hello Roger,

    great article, thanks!

    Going to Japan and Australia in October, leaving from Bucharest, Romania. If your list still stands I should wait and buy a Mac Air and iphone there.

    Do you have any idea if the list is still the same in 2015?

    If so,
    and if I buy in Japan,
    where should I buy?

    Thank you very much Roger!

    Hans

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Hans,

      I’m happy to hear that this has helped. Apple will be announcing their new products and prices on September 9 (6 days from when I write this) and this post will be totally updated then. In the meantime, the exchange rates have shifted a lot in the last year, so the picture is likely different from what you see above. But in general, Japan will be one of the cheapest places to buy Apple products, and buying them at the official Apple Stores is usually wise since the official price is the same everywhere. -Roger