Samsung Series 9 Laptops and the "Down Under" Tax11 May 2011
Yesterday ZDNet released an article Why Do Aussies pay more for software, and I’ve come to expect that many things cost more in Australia and especially electrical goods as we simply don’t have the size market to get the economies of scale that they can achieve in markets such as the US or Europe but this story really hit home with me.
Over the weekend I was looking at some reviews of the new Samsung Series 9 laptop and liking what I saw. Check out a full review at http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/samsung-series-9.aspx, but some of key features are:
- Weighs 1.3Kg
- 1.7cm thick
- Intel Core i5
- Sandy Bridge
- 128GB Solid State Hard Drive
- Wakes from hibernate in under 3 seconds, and boots from cold in under 20 seconds.
Seriously, with specs like these what’s not to love, however, if you want to buy one in Australia, Harvey Norman has them exclusively and the mark-up they have put on it can only be described as a “down under” tax. At the time of writing, Harvey Norman is selling the laptop for $2498, but if you bought the same laptop from the US you’d be paying $1599. Given the current exchange rate (at the time of writing 1.07) the totally cost would come to AU$1495 giving us a difference of just over $1000 or a mark up of 67%.
An alternative option that I think is going to become more and more popular given the huge mark up is to purchase the goods from overseas and ship them out, however most places such as Amazon won’t ship electrical goods to an international address. To get around this you can use a service such as My US Address (www.myus.com/Australia) which effectively allows you to register an address with Amazon for your goods to be delivered to within the US and they will then forward the goods to you in Australia. Now even taking into consideration freight of about $100 and GST, you are still going to be around $700 - $800 better off. A couple of things you will need to think is firstly power supply. Fortunately with laptops all the manufacturers are creating standard power bricks which you can replace the connection to the power point with a localised power cord. The second is warranty. Samsung is offering an international warranty on the laptop, so if you need to make a claim you would need to post it to their customer site in Sydney to have it taken care of, but otherwise you are covered.
Alternatively, the exclusive deal with Harvey Norman runs out at the end of June, so hopefully this will allow for some more competitive prices. Here’s hoping.