Cult of Mac’s Global iPad Price Index, Or Why You Should Never Buy In Brazil

Cult of Mac’s Global iPad Price Index, Or Why You Should Never Buy In Brazil

Click to enlarge.

Apple’s iPad 2 may have the same performance in São Paulo as San Francisco, but Brazilians pay about 56 percent more for the same magical tablet.

After Cult of Mac discovered first hand just how pricey iPads are in Brazil – and why there’s a huge gray market there –  we wanted to see if the iPad stood up to the “McDonald’s Index.”

Cult of Mac’s Global iPad Index takes iPad 2 prices – the 32GB model, Wifi only – and compares them in Apple’s 37 online stores.

Our number crunching shows that you can buy a slightly cheaper iPad from our North American neighbors ($605 in Canada and $621 in Mexico) than in California.* You could also pay about 13 percent less Malaysia than in the U.S., where the same iPad 2 costs the equivalent of $559, tax included.

Scandinavian Apple fans already know they pay through the näsa for Apple products; the iPad 2 levitates between 15 and 19 percent more than its U.S. price in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Euro area punters (including Britain) pay about 13 percent more than in the U.S., with the iPad 2 costing the equivalent of $738.

The original Big Mac Index launched by The Economist in 1988 measures PPP, or “purchasing-power parity,” whereby exchange rates should adjust to make goods and services equal across countries; so chomping on a Chinese Big Mac should cost you the same as doubling down on one in the U.S. unless the yuan is undervalued, then it’s cheaper there.

With a few notable exceptions, the iPad Index mirrors its beefier counterpart. (The Big Mac Index ranks 50 total countries compared to our 37.) Switzerland, ranks as the most overvalued (read: expensive) country in the latest edition of The Big Mac Index; in the iPad Index the price is about the same as in the U.S. China, which sells one cheap Big Mac (just $2.44), pays a premium for the iPad 2 despite the fact that it’s made there. The iPad 2 in China costs the equivalent of $710, about 8 percent more than its U.S. price.

These indexes are now almost as plentiful as cheap, global products they represent – including the Billy Index, the iPod Index and the Starbucks Index – and raise some interesting questions about differences in purchasing power around the globe.

What does it say, for example, about countries like China where food is relatively cheap but tech is an extravagance? Or Brazil, where both the iPad and the Big Mac care in the top five for the heftiest price tags globally?

*The U.S. base iPad 2 price, $599, has California sales tax added. Sales tax varies around the country,  but we wanted to compare what consumers in the Cupertino company’s home state pay for it. Excluding the U.S. Apple store, the other countries all have local taxes or VAT figured into the online price listed.


  • bokchoy416

    A 32GB WiFi only iPad2 in Switzerland costs CHF 729 = US$800.40 from apple.ch. Also in Canada, the price on apple.ca does not include tax. So the price is C$ 619 + 13% sales tax (Ontario) = C$ 699.47 = US$ 702.56.

    Something is off with the graph.

  • Ricardo Willson

    Here in Ecuador we must pay almost $1.200 for the iPad 2. I dont even want to know how much the iPad 3 will it cost, also the arriving time is too damn long.

  • Daniel Thomas Jones

    I loved taking the advantage of buying my iPad 2 in Hawai’i last September. Much more cheaper than buying one here in the UK.

  • Luciano Duque

    In Brazil the main problem are the excessive taxes. They can go up to 42%. Brasil has become a expensive country.

  • Al

    So despite transportation costs, import duty, and a 20% sales tax, here in the UK we only pay 13% more! That’s a good deal. :)

  • Manuel Fernández Téllez

    The price on mexico is wrong on app store mex 664 usd

  • George Villasboas

    HI. I’m a brazilian who lives in Brazil and buy Apple products in Brazil. Indeed you have three choices for buying an Apple product here. 1. Pay the abusive over taxed product. 2. Go to the gray market (like mercadolivre.com.br), or 3. Get e flight to the US, run into a Apple Store and buy. This less expensive and you can even go to Miami beach for a relax time.

    There’s a law project to include the iPad/iPhone (assembled in Brazil) in a tax privilege quota that lowers the percent of incident taxes on these kind of products in something around 30% less. That will make these kind of products more accessible in my country. Lets see.

    Just for the record, we don’t have Apple Stores in Brazil yet. One of the main reasons is the insane taxes policy, as always.  

  • baby_Twitty

    I was in Malaysia last year, i was shocked that the price of iPad 2 there is cheaper than in most countries.

    Genuine electronic goods are usually much MORE expensive in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. 

    To be able to hold on to that (almost impossible) price range for genuine i-products in this developing Asian region, and STILL make profits, the Apple Asia marketing & logistic team have done an impressively outstanding job.

    Don’t know what the hell is happening in Brazil though. Must be black markets blooming without proper government.

  • Clark Olson

    I’m certain we pay more here in Canada they people do in the USA. Ontario has a 13% sales tax to add on top as well. 

  • Bob Forsberg

    How much would that $599 iPad cost if made in California vs China? $1,795?

  • MydoGisgreat

    Adjust this chart for the average per capita income compared to the US and see how expensive the Ipad really gets. 

  • David Nielsen

    Having moved from Denmark to Brazil I can attest to the deep shock that comes with hardware pricing here. I expect it will get lowered over time, traditionally the high prices have been related to import taxes but if Foxconn starts making the iPad in Brazil those should be substantially lowered if I understand the system correctly.

    That being said, there are many things in Brazil that make up for the high prices of delightful hardware such as nice food, fresh fruit of all sorts and natural beauty.

    The most annoying thing about Apple in Brazil is not the price, it is that in the worlds 5th largest country, they do not sell a localized keyboard, here we can get the US English one and like it. I had to import my DK keyboard via Humac in Denmark. That being said, in the local Mac reseller store I always notice a lot of customers, everyone here seems to have an iPod Nano and iPhones are common. Quality will sell at any price (granted I live in Florianopolis which is considered the rich part of Brazil so..)

  • Mike Rathjen

    I just checked those two stores. $599 in USA and $619 (621USD) in Canada. Either this chart is wrong or I don’t understand it.

  • luis_tomazini

    I live in Brazil and what we do to not pay these huge taxes is buying in other countries. When a new iPhone or iPad is released we prefer going to the U.S., Italy, France (or any other country which the iPhones are unlocked) than buying in Brazil. My iPad 2 32Gb was bought in New York, because the price here in Brazil is unacceptable.

  • MacintudeConnor

    Why isn’t the UK, one of Apple’s major markets, included in this?

  • emiyomaha

    In Argentina the price is aprox. usd 1080

  • biglazypanda

    I live in Indonesia and for some stores the data is somewhat correct. Because there is no official Apple Retail Store in here, iPad prices from each stores vary differently. However in Apple Reseller Store or Apple Premium Reseller, the price of 32GB wifi IS NOT 559, it costs around 6+ million (in rupiahs), thats around 670 + US$ or so.But from “unofficial” store you can get one for around 580 US$
    Sure, the price is cheaper (from unofficial Apple store) i guess, but in Indonesia, Apple top products (like the iPhone 4 and the iPad) are only available 1 year after they launched it in the US. And that is probably why the price is lower here (due to people’s demand towards new-generation Apple product, thus lowering the price of ‘old Apple’ products would generate higher demand).

  • imajoebob

    Only if you don’t declare the purchase and skip out on the VAT.  I hope you’re not expecting kudos for being enough of a sociopath to avoid your legal and social obligation.

  • imajoebob

    This is a horrible comparison.  Absolutely nothing is normalised.  Of course it costs 13% more for an iPad in the UK than California!  CA sales tax is 7.24%, UK VAT is 20%.  Can you do simple math?  20-7=13!!  THAT MEANS APPLE CHARGES THE SAME FOR BOTH LOCATIONS.

    Heaven forbid you’d adjust for such simple and obvious variables not influenced by Apple.

  • Ifan Morgan

    Did you remember to include sales taxes for the US price ?

  • Paul

     I hope he did not declare it and got away with it.  Travelers pay numerous taxes and go through hell at airports these days, while helping countless business in the countries they travel through.

  • Vittorio Giorgi

     It is, after Euro zone, “Britain”.

  • Vittorio Giorgi

    I’m going to NYC this april, and I’ll probably buy an iPad there. Is there any tax I have to consider, like in California?
    Thank you very much.

  • saadali

    In india it cost $700 approx.

About the author

Nicole MartinelliNicole Martinelli heads up Cult of Mac Magazine, our weekly publication available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter and Google+. If you're doing something new, cool and Apple-related, email her.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in iPad, News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , |