Following reports of insanely expensive iPhones in Brazil, we stopped by an Apple vendor in São Paulo to see for ourselves.
It’s no joke.
A 64 gigabyte iPhone 5S costs 3,599 reais, or about $US1,637, making it the most expensive iPhone in the world. The same product costs $US849 out of contract in the U.S. — still expensive, but only around half as much.
Brazil’s ludicrous prices, which extend beyond Apple products, can be attributed to transportation bottlenecks, protectionist policies, a history of high inflation, a dysfunctional tax system and an overvalued currency.
The Apple reseller we went to in São Paulo is located in the Bourbon shopping center, an upscale mall across the street from a hotel called “The American Loft.” It’s called iPlaces, and there are other locations all over the city.
We didn’t see anyone buy an iPhone 5s or iMac (before we were kicked out for taking pictures), but the store seems to get a lot of foot traffic.
Brazil is in the top 10 smartphone markets with almost 50 million users, so the demand is there. Nevertheless, the iPhone 5S (which costs 2,799 reais / $US1,274 for the cheapest model) is way too expensive for most people in a country where the average wage is about 2,000 reais / $US910 per month.
Now for more shocking Apple prices:
- An iMac with 3.4 gigahertz costs about $US4,320 in Brazil versus $US1,999 in the U.S.
- Apple TV costs $US181 in Brazil versus $US99 in the U.S.
- Earbuds cost $US67 versus $US29 in the U.S.
- A 16 GB iPad Mini with retina display and WiFi costs $US681 and about $US299 in the U.S.
- A 13-inch MacBook Air (256 GB) runs $US2,455 in Brazil versus $US1,299 in the U.S.