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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  1. sagar says:

    i want to buy an iphone 5s ? how much does it cost in bangkok . is it under global warranty scheme . i m frm india……thanks in advance

  2. yash says:

    i want to buy apple macbook pro 13, should i buy it from india?? or should i buy from canada?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Yash, get that Macbook Pro in Canada if you can. -Roger

  3. Pallavi says:

    My frined is in Germany. I want him to buy electronic (I phone 5s, Galaxy Note 3) for me to India. Would that be beneficial when compared with the prices in India? I will have to pay him as per the euro-INR conversion rate. Please suggest.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      The main issue is that you’ll have an easier time finding the newest models in Germany. But the price won’t be much different. -Roger

  4. linuxaarif says:

    The cheapest place is Malaysia not Japan.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      That may be true today, but it wasn’t when this study was run. Also, Malaysia is still only getting the older models. -Roger

  5. Richard dada(dj dreelz) says:

    Pls give me the address or the contacts of the company I can get cheap ipads from in japan or maleysia. Want it imported to me. Pls kindly add me on bbm 26088b66. Thanx

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Richard,

      The iPads are all basically the same price in each country, so your best bet is to get them through the Apple Store in each one. -Roger

  6. Jessica says:

    I want to buy a Apple 1 pad mini with retina display. Could you please give me a address in Japan to contact. Thanks

  7. john says:

    hi, how did this company do the research? if you go online on apple store and compare prices, hk is cheapest than Thailand… and for Japan, it points you to their telco companies who do the reselling which should include airtime charges.

    1. Roger Wade says:

      John,

      I assume the company did the research in the obvious way. I’ve done it myself a couple times for iPads after I first published this and it turns out the US is the cheapest. There was a time earlier this year when the Yen started dropping and Japan was the cheapest place, but then Apple raised its prices there. In other words, it can change a bit based on currency fluctuations, but generally the US is cheapest. -Roger

  8. Nadia says:

    How does it work if we purchase an iphone in Japan, for example,living in different country? cheers

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Nadia, you’d have to buy an unlocked iPhone in Japan for around US$600 rather than one with a contract subsidy. Also, make sure it’s GSM and CDMA so it can run on either standard. Japan (like the US) has both, so it’s worth getting the model with both instead of the GSM-only one. -Roger

  9. anurag jain says:

    I want ipad4 with wifi and cellular.In India its pretty costly comparision to other country.can u guide how can i buy online from dubai or malasiya and use it in india??

  10. Kelli says:

    Im going to Vietnam this summer..would it be cheaper to get a 13 inch Macbook Pro there? How much would it be in US dollars?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Kelli, There are no official Apple Stores in Vietnam so far, and very few stores that stock Apple products at all. And they will charge more than most places as well. If you are going to Thailand or Malaysia you can get deals close to the US price, but otherwise you’ll be paying more. -Roger