Is Apple ripping off Australians?

“The head of Apple’s highly successful retail division denies the company is slugging local customers more for its products by failing to pass on the benefits of the strong Australian dollar,” Stephen Hutcheon reports for The Age.

Ron Johnson, the senior vice-president for retail, said that, despite the Australian dollar hitting 25-year highs against the US currency, local prices of its product were ‘really fair’ and ‘within reach of most people. In every quarter, we look at the various exchange rates and try to get the product prices as well as we can,’ he said, speaking on the eve of the opening of Apple’s first wholly owned store in Australia, “Hutcheon reports. “Johnson said that, based on the growth in sales figures he has seen, price is ‘clearly not an issue’ for Apple’s Australia customers.”

Hutcheon reports, “However, CommSec’s chief equities economist Craig James said that, in spite of the appreciating Australian dollar, Apple, like many retailers selling imported goods, had not passed on the ‘full benefits you’d expect’ from the realignment in exchange rates.”

Hutcheon reports, “Despite there being near parity in the $US-$A exchange rates since the start of the year, many Apple products in Australia – including iPods, MacBooks and iMac computers – sell for between 15 and 30-plus per cent more than they do in the US.”

Full article here.

49 Comments

  1. Are there tariffs and import fees that Apple has to pay the Gov. US/AU that would make these higher margins legit?

    I know when I worked for an Apple shop in St. Thomas USVI that when we shipped Apple product in we had to pay import fees…. though we could get around this by shipping by US Mail instead of UPS and Fed Ex. But the reseller (my company, not Apple) paid these fees… not sure how they do things down under.

    The Dude abides

  2. Quick answer — yes. Although the difference for some products is quite large, it’s not quite *as* large as the quoted article suggests, as the Australian prices have tax included, while the US prices do not.
    Unfortunate, but Apple does the same thing in most places.

  3. Yeah, like imported products make it from China and the US to Australia magically by teleportation. Oil prices are at record highs in case anybody down under hasn’t noticed, and that stuff doesn’t get shipped halfway around the world to Australia for free.

  4. Yeah, but most Apple products are made in China. It could easily be argued that purely based on shipping distances, that US prices should be higher than Australia’s. China is a hell of a lot closer to Oz than even the west coast of the US.

  5. You are delusional if you think Apple’s China-made products are shipped to Australia *via* the US. (I suppose by your moronic train of thought, Apple products for the Chinese market are shipped to the US from China and then back to China again, thereby accounting for the markup in China.) Australia is closer. It’s a fact that Apple makes higher profit margins on their overseas sales. Check their quarterly results going back the last two decades.

  6. I can tell you from personal knowledge that Australia has one of the highest import costs and charges of any western country. The protectionist import duties, and other taxes are among the highest in the world. At a 15% difference, I would say that Apple is absorbing some of the extra charges. If Aussies do not like the charges, elect a different government. Don’t blame Howard and the liberal party, protectionism was introduced to Australia by a Labour government many years ago.

    As for the rip off – well compare other prices. Is anything in Oz the same price as in the US? I doubt it. Back onto Apple, it is only a rip off if you do not get value for money. So if you have bought an Apple product in Oz and are happy with it then you have not been ripped off.

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