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. RD says:

    Zurich Switzerland outside the EU not mentioned. iPhone was significantly cheaper than in UK or Germany; doubtful about Stockholm. Easier to get to Seitzerland from the rest of Europe.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      RD, the data in this article was compiled by Pricerunner, and while I’m sure it’s accurate for the countries they used, it felt incomplete to me as well. As a result, I did my own study recently:

      You are correct that Switzerland is a bit cheaper than any EU country with its own online Apple store. Thank you for the comment. -Roger

  2. Shawn says:

    Having been to dubai and Abu Dhabi I can tell you that the iPad is about 250-300$us more in the UAE! Although Mac books are competitively priced.

  3. Aniruddha says:

    Hello,I want to bring an iPad in India from America with help of my
    Uncle so how can I get it in India or how can my uncle bring it in
    India from America ???

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Aniruddha, while the iPad isn’t yet officially sold in India, I don’t believe the import of one for personal use is banned, so you can probably just bring it. -Roger

  4. Clinton says:

    Just want to ensure, Malaysia will be in 5th or 6th place if it is included in this list? 🙂

  5. Clinton says:

    Thank You and appreciate this info alot. 🙂

  6. rania says:

    i think you ignor Saudi Arabia or you didnt notice it.its cheaper than dubai and Malaysia??iam a journalist there and i would like to publish your survay with opinion about price in it?waiting for your regards

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Rania, the data in this article was gathered from research by the company mentioned, and it seems that they just picked countries but not all of them. Sorry. -Roger

  7. shivam says:

    i want an iphone 5
    so what will it cost me in bankok considering bankok is on the second position on the list

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Shivam, when the iPhone 5 is available in Thailand it will cost TB22,900 for the 16GB model, unlocked and unsubsidized. That translates to US$743 right now, so really Japan and the US are the cheapest places. -Roger

  8. Daniel says:

    All this reflects is the currencies’ exchange rate at the time – unless you use a historical currency data source and generate prices in today’s figures, this is meaningless, sorry.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Daniel, the research in this survey isn’t my own, but I can assure you that your theory is way off. At any given moment, Apple products tend to be cheapest in the US and Japan, followed by Thailand and Malaysia, and insanely expensive in Brazil and a few others. It has a lot to do with local taxes and import duties, and exchange-rate fluctuations are a small factor. -Roger

  9. Kolis says:

    No way that Malaysia is not in the list.

  10. Danny says:

    Depends which country you reside and the exchange rates.

    I am staying in Singapore and from my exchange rate, Malaysia is the cheapest followed by Hong Kong is the cheapest and the States third place. I can save about SGD$260-$280 if I purchase a Macbook in Malaysia. That is a lot of money from a consumer point of view.

    In my home country, Mac products are expensive compared to my neighbouring countries. Singapore Dollars is a very strong currency against this countries I mention.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Danny, the data I used is from a company that took all exchange rates into account at the time they did it, so it should have been valid for everyone then. But by now there might have been currency shifts so your experience might be more accurate. I’m always surprised by how expensive Apple products are outside the US and Japan, and especially in countries where the average salary is relatively low. I guess it’s the import tax and the lack of demand that means they have to charge a lot. -Roger