Some of you may recall when Apple items were the must-have souvenir for visitors to the United States. High-ticket items such as MacBooks and iPhones could be 20-50 percent less expensive in the United Regions than in Europe, especially if purchased in states with low tax rates. Those days are no longer with us. Apple product pricing are increasingly being spread out across Europe, Asia, and Australia.
It’s hardly worth rearranging your travel plans simply to buy your new phone or computer, but if you chance to be travelling to a country that offers cheaper Apple products, you can save a few money. We’ll go through how to find the best deals on Apple devices abroad, as well as which countries are now offering the best deals on the latest MacBook, iPad, iPhone, and AirPods.
Finding the Cheapest Country to Buy Apple Products
When it comes to getting a good deal on Apple products while travelling outside of the United States, shifting exchange rates are the most critical factor to keep an eye on. You may travel to a country expecting to find a fantastic price on an iPhone, only to discover that the currency rate has changed and the iPhone is now more expensive than it would be back home.
Exchange rate fluctuations are unavoidable, and if the cost difference is only a few dollars, it’s not worth it to wait until you’re in another nation to buy something. In the interim, the conversion rate versus your own currency may vary, making the products the same price or even more expensive.
Taxes are complicated since some countries display the tax on the Apple website, while others do not. If you’re based in the United States, start by evaluating your own state and local taxes when deciding whether or not to buy overseas. If you reside near the border of a state with a lower tax rate, a quick drive could save you money on expensive things.
Wyoming (5.34%), Wisconsin (5.46%), and Maine (5.5%) have some of the lowest combined state and local tax rates in the US. To see if the final cost is cheaper than it would be back home, you’ll need to compute the tax for each country you’re considering buying from. For example, in Japan, you’ll see if tax is included in the price and if it isn’t.
This is where things get even more complicated when it comes to taxes. Tourists can claim a tax refund in numerous countries, including famous tourist destinations like Japan, Australia, and Thailand. Your tax refund for high-priced purchases like MacBooks might be over $200.
You’ll still have to pay the tax up front, but you’ll usually get it back at customs when you leave the country, or at particular retail malls in Japan. You’ll also need to present your passport while making the purchase. Don’t assume that the restrictions on tax refunds apply to you because they vary per country.
For example, in Thailand and Australia, you must remove the purchased item out of the country within 60 days of purchase, which may be an issue for long-term visitors and remote employees. Trying to get a refund at the airport, especially for lower-cost items like AirPods, can be a hassle you don’t want to deal with. Give yourself plenty of time to stand in line and fill out forms if you chose to do so.
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there concerning whether your basic Apple one-year warranty or Apple Care is applicable in foreign countries. Due to the store’s inability to charge in a foreign currency, several consumers claim to have saved money on warranties in other nations. Others believe the procedure was identical to what they would do at home.
In the worst-case scenario, warranties are void or require you to ship the equipment back to the nation of purchase for repairs, leaving you without your tech for days or weeks. We’ve had firsthand experience with this in the past, thanks to an inconvenient loophole in Apple’s warranty for iPhones and iPads purchased in another country:
“IMPORTANT RESTRICTION FOR iPHONE AND iPAD SERVICE.”
Apple may limit iPhone and iPad warranty coverage to the country where the product was first sold by Apple or its Authorized Distributors.”
Keep an eye out for product differences. Apple items may appear to be the same on the surface, but the product may differ from what you’re used to due to differences in language, culture, and legal constraints in the area you’re shopping in. It’s possible that the keyboard could be different, or that specific applications will be missing.
Because most Voice-over-IP (VoIP) apps are prohibited in the United Arab Emirates, Apple products do not include Facetime. If you’re buying an Apple product in another nation, always ask specific questions regarding keyboards, language options, and anything else that might be different.
Here are the best nations to buy Apple devices after carefully analysing currency rates, taxes, warranties, and product differences. Prices are based on statistics from the first quarter of 2020.
Where Not to Buy
South America continues to feature some of the world’s most expensive Apple products. If you spend a lot of time travelling there, you’ll want to be extra cautious with your Apple products because acquiring a replacement will be a nightmare.
Apple products are among the most costly in the world in Brazil, with iPhones costing up to 74 percent more than in the United States. You won’t be able to quickly ship in a new phone or laptop, either, because Brazilian import taxes on technology can range from 10% to 35 percent.
The Cheapest Country To Buy MacBooks
When buying more expensive Apple products in another country, you’re more likely to save money. A ten percent discount on a $2000 MacBook ($200) is far more valuable than a ten percent discount on $200 AirPods ($20). Depending on the model you want, Australia and Japan are the cheapest places in the world to buy a MacBook.
In the United States, a 13-inch 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Pro is presently available for $1499 USD. Depending on the state you live in, you could end up spending anywhere from $1581 (5.5 percent tax) to $1641 (9.5 percent tax). The list price for a 13-inch 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Pro in Australia is $1394 USD (A$2299 – A$209).
If you qualify for and go through the process of collecting a tax refund, you may expect to save anywhere from $187 to $247 USD. In Japan, a 13-inch 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Pro costs $1437 USD (159,800 yen). If you qualify for and go through the procedure of collecting a tax refund, you may expect to save anywhere from $144 to 204 USD.
The Cheapest Country To Buy iPads
The cheapest location to buy an iPad is entirely dependent on the model you want. Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan are among the top performers across all models. In the United States, a 12.9-inch 64GB iPad Pro is presently offered for $1149 USD.
You should expect to pay anywhere from $1212 to $1258 in taxes, depending on where you live. The list price for a 12.9-inch 64GB iPad Pro in Australia is $1063 USD (A$1749 – A$159). If you qualify for and go through the procedure of collecting a tax refund, you can expect to save anywhere from $149 to 195 USD.
The Cheapest Country To Buy iPhones
Japan is the cheapest country to buy an iPhone, followed by Australia, South Korea, and the US. In the United States, a 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max is now advertised for $1099 USD. Depending on the state you live in, you’ll spend anywhere from $1159 to $1203 in taxes.
The list price of a 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max in Japan is $1076 USD (119,800 yen). If you qualify for and receive a tax refund, you can expect to save anywhere from $83 to 127 USD.
The Cheapest Country To Buy AirPods
You won’t save nearly as much money on AirPods as you would on larger Apple products. Australia and Eastern Asia are the cheapest areas to buy AirPods. However, the difference is minor, so if you’re in need of a new pair of AirPods, you may get them at home or in many other locations.
However, several countries, like as Russia, Romania, Indonesia, Cambodia, Moldova, Israel, and the major one, Brazil, charge significantly more for AirPods. That same pair of earphones will cost you almost twice as much there. The AirPods Pro are currently available in the United States for $249 USD.
You should expect to pay anything from $263 to $273 in taxes, depending on where you live. The list price of the AirPods Pro in Australia is $240 USD (A$399 – A$40). If you qualify for and go through the process of collecting a tax refund, you can expect to save anywhere from $23 to $33 USD.
- The little discounts on Apple products aren’t worth arranging a trip for, but regular or long-term visitors may be able to save up to $200 on larger purchases by coordinating their Apple purchases.
- Australia and Japan are the top nations to buy Apple devices from as of early 2020.
- Always inquire about keyboards, language settings, and other possible differences when purchasing a laptop from another country.
- It’s not worth it to wait till you get to a cheaper nation for smaller Apple accessories. The time you’ll spend waiting, combined with the difficulty of collecting your tax refund, isn’t worth the few dollars you’ll save.
- If you buy an iPad or an iPhone outside of your country of residency, be aware that Apple can limit the warranty to the country where the device was initially sold. If you value warranties, saving $100-200 may not be worth the risk.