Several sites reported that Apple use different pricing for its different markets. While the US customers can get the new phone from $999 (£740), the UK prices starts from £999 ($1349). The new X costs only £754 in Japan, £813 in Hong Kong, £952 in China, but the customers in some countries pay even more than in the UK: it is £1027 in France, £1044 in Italy. The most expensive is Hungary with its £1073 price tag: it is cheaper to book a round trip flight to NY and pick up your new phone on your travels.
This difference in the final price is coming from the difference level of consumption taxes (VAT) mostly. The standard rate of VAT is 20% in the UK, 22% in Italy, 25% in Denmark and Sweden and world record 27% in Hungary. Some countries also have other taxes in the final price – therefore up to 25% of the price we pay will directly go to the exchequer of the country. The US prices are exclusive of sales taxes, which vary state-by-state (from 0% in Delaware to 7.25% in California). Without the taxes European prices would be about the same – around £830.
But this is still £90 more than in the US – why? The answer is the foreign exchange rates and channel distribution costs. The higher amount is the price of the exchange risk. Apple is not just calculating the Sterling (Euro etc.) cost of the product, because this value can change due to the changes in currency exchange rates. The stronger the dollar, the less Apple gets for the same price in Pounds (Euros). To avoid this risk, they must build in a buffer to the price against the exchange rate risks – otherwise they would have to amend the retail prices day by day.
Channel distribution costs means the costs of the logistics, all the costs of doing business in the country and the costs of transferring the money from an international market.
There is also a strategic element in pricing: they ask more here because they can. Companies want to maximise their profit, therefore the final price is not just a calculation of the costs. It is not just Apple – many tech companies ask more for their services in the UK from Amazon to Netflix, and the market verifies their pricing.
After explaining the difference between the prices worldwide, let’s take a look to the price itself. What is behind the $999 (£740)?
The retailers margin is also included in the price. When selling Apple products, resellers’ margin is lower than 10%, some estimate it to be 3-5% in case of the IPhones. Though some products have 40-70% margin, Apple have a pretty good bargaining power when we talk about IPhones. Do not expect price discounts from retailers.
Even if we calculate with 10%, it means that £666, remains for Apple. Based on the previous financial reports of the company, the production costs less than a third of the phone’s price, while the profit rate is around 40%. It means that the production costs (processor, memory, touchscreen, sensors, cameras, battery, packaging and production) is around £222, the other costs (marketing, research and development, logistics, licences, software) is around £178, and profit of Apple is £266.
Could it be cheaper?
First, this is a strategic decision to keep the prices high. It is positioning: Apple price their products higher than their competition to create a so called perceived value. They want to express their exclusiveness and superior quality in the price. It differentiates the product: a meaningful difference that helps consumers justify spending more. Higher prices mean status and helps control the demand. This brand is not for everyone. You should feel the price.
And customers also pay the price premium for the brand. Customers values the quality, the credibility, the innovation, the social responsibility – and willing to pay for it. Brands can burnish the buyer’s reputation, increase confidence, and can form communities based on the attachment to a product. To build a strong brand is expensive – therefore you can see this not just in the profit rate but also in the marketing costs. So, no, I am afraid it could not be cheaper.
And why is it £999? The 99 ending is psychological pricing: the perception of the customers is different if they see the 9s at the end of the price. It creates the illusion that the phone is cheaper than it really is.
Sources: Apple, European Commission, Telegraph, Quora, Guardian, CNN, Business Insider, Digital Trends