Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The MacbookPro Index

I'm looking into prices for a Macbook Pro, so that I can bolster my own prediction. I'm aware of the fact that for some reason, they are a bit more expensive in the UK than in the US (even without sales tax/VAT). I'm from South Africa, so I can organise for someone to bring me one, but I would never have guessed that it would be cheaper to buy it there than in the UK, and even cheaper than the states if you ignore sales tax/VAT.

Here's a summary of the prices for the 3 models in Us Dollars (USD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Punds Sterling (GBP), South African Rand (ZAR) and Hong Kong Dollars (HKD). Prices were taken from the official apple websites, except in South African where the ZA Store is one of the official retailers.

15" 2.4GHz15"2.5 GHz17" 2.5GHz

Using the following VAT and exchange rates (as on 31/3/2008 and 1/4/2008. A quick investigation revealed Hong Kong at 0%. I could be wrong):

Exchange Rate

we get the pre-tax cost in US Dollars:

15" 2.4GHz15"2.5 GHz17" 2.5GHz

At a glance, the UK price is consistently higher than any others, and remember this is without VAT. UK VAT is at 17.5%, the highest of the 5, which will make the post-tax prices even higher.

And if you prefer a pretty picture (using Google Charts API):

And now onto the MacbookPro index. If you haven't heard about the Big Mac index, it is an informal way of measuring purchasing power parity between countries. It can be used to estimate if a currency is over or undervalued, since a Big Mac is pretty much the same in every country. It is calculated by dividing the price of a Big Mac in one country, by that it another country, and comparing this value to the actual exchange rate.

For the MacbookPro index, I've used an average price (non-weighted for simplicity), and here are the results:

CurrencyUnder valuation [%]

and the graph:

You could conclude that the pound is undervalued by about 9%. I wouldn't. I would conclude that Macs are overpriced in the UK. I think I'll get mine elsewhere...


Adamos Loizou said...

Wow! I am actually surprised that the UK prices have gone up so much. A rule of thumb for the Greek Mac market has always been that you can be sure to get it cheaper anywhere else in the world than Greece. Rainbow Computers has been representing (very badly) Apple in Greece since the ancient times of Leonidas and his 300 mighty Spartans (!!!) and although there have been petitions and petitions, Apple does not seem to care! (Petition Website)
I am amazed to see that even Rainbow's prices are (marginally) lower than the UK's even when you consider the 19% Greek VAT and the rise of the Euro.
Rainbow is selling the starting MacBookPro for £1262 (£1501 - VAT included).
Apple UK should definitely reconsider ...

keithb said...

Interesting analysis. I bought my 2.4 GHz 15" Pro at a UK airport, which saves the tax and brings the price back into the realms on sanity. Basically, I got a bottom-end Pro for some change more than the high-street cost of a top-end MacBook.

As to the overvaluation of the GBP, it has been tanking against the EUR and CHF recently (looks good against the USD, but that's only because the USD is tanking even harder)

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