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The new iPhones overcharge UK consumers more than any previous model
We have to pay almost £100 more here for the iPhone X than in the US.
So, your old phone broke, you need to buy a new one and perhaps to also reconsider your tariff plan. An iPhone is the first thing that comes to mind, but can you afford it? We all know they are quite expensive, but how expensive exactly? Do they cost more in the UK or abroad?
We took a look at the figures. The chart below shows how the UK iPhone prices compare to those of the US.
To allow for a direct comparison, the US price to buy each phone contract-free has been converted to pound sterling, with the exchange rate as it was at each handset’s release date, and recalculated to include UK VAT.
|Model||UK price||US price|
|iPhone 8 Plus||£799||£720|
As you can see, the price has been consistently higher in the UK, with the exception of the iPhone 7.
Prior the announcement of 2017s new models, iPhones in the UK costed on average £36.40 more than in the US, although the iPhone 6s Plus was a whole £68 more expensive here.
The most recent announcements put these numbers to shame. Considering only the cheapest version of each phone, the iPhone 8 costs £69 more, the iPhone 8 Plus £79 more, and the iPhone X £99 more than in the US. These bring the average price difference up to £46.
For each year since 2011 up to 2016, we found the average difference between the US and UK prices of the iPhones released that year. Combining this with the estimated number of iPhones sold in the UK gives the extra amount British consumers have been spending in total. By our estimate, the UK has spent £1.1 billion more than if we’d been provided with the same prices as the USA. And this number is certain to go up significantly by the end of 2017.
|Year||Average price difference||Approximate number of iPhones sold in the UK||Amount extra spent|
|2011||£6.02||3.2 million||£19.3 million|
|2012||£49.88||3.8 million||£189.6 million|
|2013||£59.75||4.5 million||£268.9 million|
|2014||£64.82||5.3 million||£343.5 million|
|2015||£26.23||6.4 million||£167.9 million|
|2016||£14.32||7.3 million||£104.5 million|
|Total||30.5 million||£1.1 billion|
Source: finder.com/uk, Statistica, Kantar, Gallup
These numbers also mean that fans of Apple who buy a new handset each year would have been rewarded for their loyalty with a bill £221 higher than their American equivalent. If they buy the iPhone X this year, that number becomes £320. And that’s assuming they stick to the base model of the phone, rather than going for the more expensive handsets with a higher memory capacity.
It’s questionable whether these steeper prices are justified. In the past Apple has blamed higher operating costs as the reason behind them, although this doesn’t explain how they managed to close the price gap with the iPhone 7.
Price difference by iPhone model
The discrepancy in cost has varied quite a lot between models. The table below shows the exact difference for each one.
|Model||UK price||US price||US price in pounds with VAT||Price difference|
|iPhone 6 Plus||£619||$749||£550.96||£68.04|
|iPhone 6s Plus||£619||$749||£592.31||£26.69|
|iPhone 7 Plus||£719||$769||£705.57||£13.43|
|iPhone 8 Plus||£799||$799||£719.87||£79.13|
Source: finder.com/uk, Statistica, Kantar, Gallup
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