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. Zimmi says:

    Hi, I am looking to buy a macbook air 11in with apple protection 3yr plan in bkk, as mine broke. is that advisable to do while in SEA or shall i wait until i return to switzerland?
    thanks for helping out already

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Zimmi,

      Applecare is a global system so as long as you go to the official Apple Stores in Thailand or elsewhere in SEA you should have no problem. But they are also unusually cheap in Switzerland so that is a good option if you’ll be heading there soon. Interestingly, I bought my first iPad in Bangkok and recently bought some iPads as gifts for my nieces in Zurich. -Roger

  2. kenny panda says:

    example settings for apple products will there be difference or none?

  3. kenny panda says:

    i am planning to let my friend buy me an ipad air 2 128 gb wifi ony gold in abu dhabi. will there be a product difference than here in the philippines? Philipine price is expensive

    1. Roger Wade says:

      kenny,

      If your friend is buying Apple products in an Apple Store, then they will be the same no matter where on earth the store is. I notice that the Philippines is a country that is usually one generation behind the new products, so one bought in Abu Dhabi would probably be a newer generation, and definitely the real thing. I think the only place where counterfeit Apple products are common is China, and even then it’s only in “unofficial” stores. Best of luck. -Roger

  4. Deep says:

    i m in india now could i buy iphone 5 directly from dubai through online sites

  5. Kaks says:

    im planning to buy a mac book in Japan. will that be in Japanese?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Kaks,

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but all Mac products have all languages pre-loaded, so you can choose any of them when you are first setting the machine up, no matter where you buy it. -Roger

  6. ridhima says:

    hey
    i want to purchase sony experia z series mobile from USA. will it be wiser to buy it frm USA rather than India itself?

    1. Roger Wade says:

      ridhima,

      In my experience, name-brand electronics tend to be cheaper in the US than in India, as long as you can buy them at a cheap place and hopefully also pay no sales tax. But I doubt there is a big difference, so probably better to buy it where it’s easiest. Good luck. -Roger

  7. siyamak says:

    hey … first of all thanks for this good article !!
    but can i ask question !? i wanna buy phone accessories for my reseller store include Apple,samsung …. etc !! can you tell me where is cheapest today !?
    regard

    1. Roger Wade says:

      siyamak,

      Thank you. I don’t know anything about the wholesale market for Apple products, but as far as which countries are cheapest on the retail side as of now, I keep this article about iPad prices around the world up to date. Hopefully that helps. -Roger

  8. Birch says:

    Here’s my source, Proven Malaysia’s the cheapest as there’s no or minimal Import tax for Computer due to “Computer Education In Malaysia”

    http://store.apple.com/my/buy-mac/macbook-pro
    3,699.00 myr in usd-1129.12 US Dollar

    http://store.apple.com/jp/buy-mac/macbook-pro
    134,800 yen in usd-1324.1404 US Dollar

    http://www.arabcomputers.com.sa/index.php/macbookpro.html
    5,399 saudi riyal in usd- 1439.62 US Dollar

  9. Jo Lee says:

    One point worth mentioning, I now live in Switzerland but prior to that I lived in California where I bought my iPhone & iPad for much less than they cost here. However, when I had problems with the iPhone ( after 18 months) Apple in Switzerland were not interested in repairing it because it came from California. I called Apple US & they confirmed that while it is a Universal company, each country operates independently when it comes to problems. I had to buy a new iPhone here so I’m covered if there is a problem. Right now I would like a MacBook Pro & they are so much cheaper in the US, but I’m cautious because just in case I have problems, then what?

  10. Adrià Tarrés says:

    Good information, how did you get the part of the cheapest countries tu buy apple products???

    I’m doing an important labor and I need to know the source!

    Thanks!

    1. Roger Wade says:

      Adrià, the source of the study is mentioned near the top of the article. -Roger