Comparing Tech Pricing Around the Globe

Comparing Tech Pricing Around the Globe

Jason Yang
Apr 27, 2011

While we often experience sticker shock with the expensive electronics we (want to) buy, consider that the U.S. has it quite good compared to some other countries. A friend of ours who works/lives in the U.K. for the past 4.5 years recently returned to the US to sort a VISA issue. While here he mentioned that he was going to pick up an iPad 2 while stateside because pricing was so expensive in the U.K. The base model with 16 GB and Wi-Fi was *only $500 in the U.S., compared to $660 in the U.K.!

According to, the iPad 2 was even more expensive in other countries as well. Curiosity drove me to the web to find out how much difference there is for other gadgets, appliances, and purchases around the world. My search results were poor, but for interesting reasons.

A casual search across the web came up with a realization that it would be quite difficult to compare similar products across different countries. Each market has such unique requirements that the products themselves are often quite different.

Consider my first search for appliances, specifically refrigerators. Trying to find an exact same model to compare pricing was nearly impossible. UK refrigerators for example were generally considerably smaller than US fridges, likely as a combination of space premium and that us Americans buy/consume/waste such massive amounts of food. The most expensive refrigerators at Best Buy UK were between $1,600 and $2,500, with 48 models. Meanwhile the US Best Buy had 107 models alone priced higher than $2,500!

Trying cars on for size, I looked at a Ford Focus, with a starting MSRP of $16,270 in the U.S. In the U.K. the Focus starts at $25,600 out the door (give or take). Even adding on dealer fees, delivery, taxes, title, tags, and registration, that's still quite a big price difference. The models themselves had quite varied specifications too, to suit the different markets.

So how about regular electronics then, that are generally the same wherever you go? Using Best Buy again, I looked up the price of a Sony Playstation 3, with the cheapest model (160 GB) coming in at $300. The same model came in at a whopping $460!

I'd had enough, and felt my pride wallet swelling from the savings to be an American.

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