The iPhone 5S, how much it costs versus economic realities around the world

The iPhone 5S, how much it costs versus economic realities around the world
We all know that Apple products tend to cost more. iPhones are on the more expensive side of the spectrum by just about every measure. Despite that expense, the iPhone is very popular and highly sought after by many around the world.

When the iPhone 5S first went on sale in the United States, online auction and classified sites lit up with the shiny new devices for sale at substantial mark-ups, with some 16GB iPhones being sold for thousands of dollars.

When you want it, you want it. Right? Well in some places that is easier said than done when you measure the cost of the iPhone versus what kind of money people have on hand. What we are talking about is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

PPP is not without its controversy, but it is a widely accepted way to look at how a particular country’s currency allows people making a certain wage are able to buy stuff. There is added complexity when you account for the fact that uniform price levels do not exist. Put plainly, the $650 full retail price (excluding tax) of a 16GB iPhone 5S does not cost the equivalent in British Pounds. In fact, the full retail for the same iPhone 5S in the UK is £457 ($740) before tax, and a whopping £549 ($890) with value-added-tax (VAT).

When you measure that against the overall economy however, that results in just 2.4% of GDP per capita (PPP), even when accounting for taxation. That is based on a median income of $37,500 (2012, £23,150). Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK is ahead of the curve in that regard.

Not surprisingly, folks in the US and Canada are not so bad off, as an iPhone is well under 2% of GDP (PPP). That is aided by the size of the market, median wages and lower overall taxes. Ease of distribution, regulation, taxation, and the size of the market all weigh on the cost of a product before it hits the shelf at a store. Portugal and Italy are two examples where, despite being part of the currently strong Euro currency system, the iPhone simply costs more. In Portugal, the price for a 16GB iPhone 5S is €699, including €131 in taxes. That’s $942, more than the cost of a 64GB iPhone 5S in the US with tax. In Italy, the same exact iPhone is a whopping €729, including €133 in taxes ($980 overall).

Those higher prices, coupled against a smaller, and shrinking GDP, result in a much higher impact on purchasing power, 3.3% in Italy, and over 4.1% in Portugal. If you think they have it bad, do not move to China, the Philippines or India. There, the price of an iPhone is inflated about the same as one might find in Europe, but the product confronts much weaker purchasing power. An iPhone commands nearly 10% of GDP (PPP) in China because wages are much lower. In the Philippines, the impact is nearly double, 18% and in India it is still higher at 22%. In those three instances, the price of the iPhone is between $750 and $850.

We shared some images from an interactive model put together by the good folks at Mobile Unlocked. To see how the numbers stack up in your specific neck of the woods, click on the source link. As you can see from the map however, in the developed world, the economic impact of the iPhone is not oppressive. Be thankful if you do not need to buy a 16GB iPhone in Turkey or Jordan, there, the retail price starts at over $1,000.

source: Mobile Unlocked



1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Last line of the article almost gave me a heart attack.

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Dude the gold 64 GB iPhone was nearly NZD $2000 (USD $1650) at import stores when it first came out.

30. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

This is the kind of article that proves that the Moto G wins in the cheaper scaled down colorful handset war. Not only is it cheaper, it has an equivalent PPI. If anyone in these other countries that don't have subsidized handset models buys an iPhone 5C over a Moto G they're stupid. For my T Mobile line I'm totally buying a Moto G because screw paying $500-650 when there's a $200 option like the 16GB Moto G. I don't know how all of a sudden I've become a Moto G fanboy...

31. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

This article is so veridic it hurts the iPhone 5C 16GB costs the equivalent of 800$, the 5S 32GB costs 1080$ while the minimum wage in Portugal is 650$, in others words you need to work two months before you can get Apple's overpriced phones.

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You doing any cardio to keep that pumper strong ;)

35. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Everyday for at least an hour!

39. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That's wassup bro. I'd do a minimum 30 every morning, then an hr of weights after work. Hard work, but well worth the effort. +1 Smurf.

2. dairan

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

in Brazil iphone 5c and 5s was release today. iPhone 5s 16gb = 1,214.64 U.S. dollars. Sure it is most expansive in whole the world

6. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

The PS4 price in Brazil is scary.

10. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I rather get the Xbox One over the PS4. Just my preference.

12. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

you rather spend 499$ vs 399$ on a gaming console? or because it have NFL exclusive on XBOX LIVE

15. alaw.14

Posts: 426; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Or that it comes with the kinect???

18. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

For $60 you can get the PS4 camera and still pay less than the Xbox One.

24. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I've invested five (almost six) years into XBL. Can't see myself switching over to PSN.

17. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

PS4 is better for gaming and the xbox one is slightly better at being an entertainment device. IMO a Roku 3 and a PS4 is a much better combo.

19. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

IMO a PC and HDMI cable is a even better combo. Better graphics and cheaper games

25. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012


28. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012


41. _PHug_

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

I'm with you. Xbox is better. Better games. Better exclusives. Better online experience. Better controller. Outside of The last of us & the Drake series my PS3 collects dust. Everything else is played on 360

44. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

When I was in the market for a console 360 had no built in WiFi, no built in bluray/hddvd, no hdmi, and one tenth of the storage that the ps3 offered. Meaning I would have to spend another $250 on top of base price for 360 to have the same specs as a ps3 and still no hdmi. No brainer. I'm glad Microsoft is beginning to catch up, now their system is only $100 more and $20 every three months for the same experience a ps4 offers out of the box.

16. taikucing unregistered

wow I thought only in my country everything costs abnormal.

38. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

In BraSil S4 i9505 -> at about $ 890 , Nokia 1020 -> $ 1010 ... that´s the reason why I´m using my old S3 with Nokia (used one) N808 (I bought by $ 330). Nokia for the photos and S3 for the rest , just use NFC. No reason to upgrade (ok, by the end of this year I´ll buy my S4)

3. julz17ronald

Posts: 52; Member since: Apr 26, 2013

In my country, 2 Samsung S4 = 1 IPhone 5s. Apple pricing is too much!

4. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

In Malaysia, the iPhone 5s (16GB) is priced the same as the Xperia Z1 and the Galaxy Note 3 at $747.93 USD, and what's funny is that the HTC One Max was released yesterday and it's priced at $779.11 USD, it's more expensive than those three phones. lol

5. rgonzalezagui

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

In Mexico, it's around $950 US...

7. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

Just wondering why Japan is not included in this otherwise excellent research.

8. spectrums

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

verry over price for garbage phone.

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I wouldn't say garbage, but for a phone that doesn't have Bluetooth capabilities my dumb phone from 2009 had is really depressing.

13. stealthd unregistered

My flip phone from 2005 could do it too, and it doesn't matter because I never needed to use it.

23. spectrums

Posts: 127; Member since: Nov 14, 2013

yes, i'm agree with you.

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