Why are electronic goods so much cheaper in the US?


Sophie Christie

July 24, 2014

Two studies point to a big discrepancy in prices, with Americans paying £402 less for a Samsung TV

Travellers are snapping up bargains across the pond, with the dollar at a five-year low against the pound.

This means that for every £1 spent, holidaymakers will get $1.71.

According to consumer group Which?, electronic and digital goods are particularly good value for shoppers in the United States, with huge differences in price for identical items sold here and across the pond.

Which? compared the prices, excluding sales tax, of 13 identical products ranging from televisions and gaming consoles to desktop applications and security software. The price difference of some items, calculated on June 18, ran to hundreds of pounds.

A Samsung TV was £402 more expensive in the UK, while an Apple Macbook Pro 13-inch laptop cost £194 more in the UK than in the US.

Which? said that the disparities in prices were down to manufacturers’ pricing, rather than the foreign exchange rate.

Digital goods were also found to be cheaper in the US, with a 12 month subscription to the imaging software Adobe Creative cloud costing £114 less than in the UK.

Microsoft Office Professional digital software cost £236 in the US compared to £325 in the UK, a price difference of £89.

“UK consumers are getting a raw deal by paying up to hundreds of pounds more for the same tech products on sale in the US,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?

“Manufacturers should play fair and explain why consumers are paying more for buying in the UK.”

Which? is campaigning for the Government to raise the current threshold for import duty on goods bought online to the same threshold as that placed on goods brought back from abroad, so shoppers can take advantage of cheaper goods on sale in the US.

The current threshold for import duty for goods bought online is currently £135, while shoppers buying in the US can spend up to £390 before facing import tax.

UK vs US

Separate research conducted last week by the Post Office found similar discrepancies between items bought in the US and the UK, due to the strong pound against the dollar.

A Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet 8GB, for example, cost £77.89 in the US and £119.99 in the UK.

“Sterling’s surge in value against the US dollar to its highest rate in over five years means there are great bargains to be struck in New York shops,” said Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money.

Electronic bargains in the US



New York


Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet 8GB




Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi eReader




Beats by Dr Dre Studio 2.0 Headphones




Apple iPod Air Smart Cover




Apple iPod touch 16GB




Apple iPod nano 16GB




Beats by Dr Dre Solo 2 Headphones (black)




Apple iPad mini Wi-Fi 16GB




Apple iPod shuffle 2GB




Apple iPad Air Wi-Fi 16GB





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