Here is a Global Price Map for iPhone 5S


Forbes has published a mapping of the global price list for iPhone 5S, to highlight how the prices of Apple’s latest flagship phone differ around the world. The publication claims that the data can be used to explore the violations of Ricardo’s Iron Law of One Price, which insists that the “prices of traded goods would inevitably move to being equal all over the world”, or equal minus the transport costs of getting them around the world.


The source notes that transport costs for an iPhone are trivial. “It would be amazing if Apple were paying more than a couple of dollars to airfreight one to anywhere at all. So, we would expect prices to be the same everywhere”, but they obviously are not. Apparently the major reason for this is different governments. The prices used include sales taxes and those obviously vary in each taxing jurisdiction. There are also various places that have import taxes on electronics. So, that’s part of the iron law violation, governments imposing taxes.

“There’s also a second, much more minor one in there as well. Apple, just like every other company, operates at “price points”. No one at all goes out and sells something at $501. This might not be entirely rational but it is the way we humans see things, that $499 is much cheaper than $501. Certainly, we all act as if it’s much more than $2 cheaper. So price points are going to be at $499, perhaps $489, $449, instead of $451. However, Apple is selling in multiple currencies here and those psychological price points won’t be at the same price when converted into just the one currency.”

Another version of the information looks at the GDP of the country where the sale is being made. China is currently the most expensive with the iPhone 5S price being 9.55% of the average GDP, whereas the USA, Apple’s home country, is the cheapest standing at just 1.15%.


  • Interesting that it says sales tax was taken into account, yet there’s one colour shown for all of Canada and likewise, for all of the USA. Would be interesting to see the states and provinces broken down in terms of taxes, but judging by the currency symbol shown in the legend, I’m guessing this study originated in the UK so they probably didn’t want to go into that much detail.

  • Chrome262

    Now you know why people actually go to the states to buy one (if you go to delaware its 13% savings compared to Ontario), or in the case of China, there are people who buy hear or the states and ship to china. In some cases its well worth it.

  • Actually, I still don’t understand why so many people think it’s worth it to buy in the States. If you lived in Europe, it would definitely be tempting, but it doesn’t cost much more in Canada (still green on the chart).

    For a few specific cases I could see it being worth it, but unless you’re already planning on being in the US for a few days, you still have to pay the duty (unless you lie at the border I suppose) and once you add the gas and time, it just doesn’t add up. In fact, I think it could likely end up costing more if you were to buy one in Washington with their tax and then add BC’s duty charges and your gas mileage on top of that.

  • Chrome262

    oh sure you would have to do it correctly, or have others buy it for you and you pick it up at a later date. I have friends that buy certain things in the states and have it shipped to friends and family over the border. then go and pick it up when they visit. If they stay two days there is no duty to claim, if its under , what 1000 bucks now. And you are right for other countries, they do make deals with people to buy devices and have them shipped to them, because it is worth it.