You’ve probably read it in our papers. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) say consumer products cost more in Singapore compared with other cities. They apparently sampled products from Apple, Ikea and Zara. MAS and MTI cited reasons like small market size and high transport costs of bringing the products into Singapore for the higher prices.
Now, I’m sure we all have our ideas too about the reasons for the higher prices. Everything in Singapore is expensive. But perhaps one big thing could be the rental costs?
I was very curious about whether it’s true that Apple’s products do cost more in Singapore compared with other countries. So I’ve pulled out the figures from a bunch of Apple online stores, namely Singapore, United States, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia. You’ll find the figures below, with the listed prices being the SGD equivalent.
|MacBook Air 13″ with 256GB Storage||$1617||$1506||$1456||$1463||$1628|
|MacBook Pro 13″ with Retina Display 2.4 GHz||$2088||$1883||$1861||$1887||$2153|
|Mac Pro Quad-Core and Dual GPU||$4288||$3768||$3788||$3736||$4655|
|iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi only||$688||$626||$548||$616||$696|
|iPad mini with Retina Display 16GB Wi-Fi only||$548||$501||$500||$493||$558|
|iPhone 5s 16GB||$988||$815||$905||$924||$1043|
The exchange rate used is according to xe.com at this time: 1 SGD = 0.796 USD = 6.174 HKD = 2.596 MYR = 0.859 AUD
Hey, it does look like Singapore prices are really high. Australia’s the most expensive. But otherwise Singapore’s firmly in 2nd place for the the most expensive spot.
Now we know where to buy our Apple stuff. But do take note that these are prices as listed on the online store website, and may or may not include tax. The Singapore prices do include GST. The United States prices do not include sales tax, but sales tax may be applicable. You’ll have to figure out the tax computation yourself.
The title of this post may be about Apple products and their relatively higher selling prices in Singapore. But really, my point is about we don’t need to buy locally.
Thanks to online stores and easy global shipping, we don’t have to be constrained by merchants based in Singapore. There are plenty of good deals to be found from overseas merchants. The Western Digital My Cloud 4TB, for example, is S$399 from the Western Digital online store in Singapore, but just the equivalent of S$275 from Amazon with free shipping to Singapore.
Freight forwarding services have made it very convenient to buy items from overseas merchants who don’t ship to Singapore. Some merchants even offer free global shipping. Buying directly from overseas has become easy and relatively convenient these days. Of course, there’re a couple of things you’ll have to take note:
- Sales tax that may apply in the other country or city. In the United States, out-of-state sales are usually exempted from tax, and many global freight forwarding services choose to base themselves in states like Oregon (e.g. vPost) because they don’t levy sales tax at all.
- Check for local or domestic shipping charges if you use a freight forwarding service (e.g. Borderlinx, vPost, or ComGateway).
- Factor in the GST that may apply at Singapore customs.
Then there are other considerations that may have an indirect cost impact:
- Other risks
Despite all those additional costs and risks, you may still find it attractive to import items yourself. Yes, that’s right. MAS and MTI talks about the higher transport costs to bring the products into Singapore. Yet, when we individual consumers import the items ourselves, we still reap savings.
Blame it on market size or transport costs if they like, but we know that’s hardly the whole picture.