Cost of an iPhone around the globe

From being a US only hit, iPhone has become a global phenomenon, not in terms of units sold but in terms of popularity. Owning an iPhone was a mark of luxury in US, not now, but around the time when it was first introduced. It is similar to that in many other countries now, where the iPhone was released recently for sale. The price of the iPhone varies significantly from country to country and the dynamics behind this are confusing (at the least) to explain here and understand.

It started by accident in December, during a business trip to New York. I live in Rome, where domestic work comes cheap and technology is expensive. An unlocked, gold, 32-gigabyte iPhone 5s that costs about $815 with tax in the U.S. goes for €839 (about $1,130) in Italy
— via Businessweek
iPhone prices around the globe (Source - Bloomberg Businessweek)

iPhone prices around the globe (Source - Bloomberg Businessweek)

Even Tim Cook (Apple's CEO) mentioned in a recent earnings call and in a interview with the WSJ, that Apple actually grew in Japan in Q4 of 2013 by almost 37% in terms of units sold, but only by 9% in revenue thanks "to a strengthened dollar against the yen" in that period. A 26% shave off in revenue as a result of Apple being an American company trading in US dollars! So the pricing economics and currency conversions can be really hard to understand. But the point of this post is to highlight the what this difference in iPhone pricing means to a global citizen (I mean to a person who can actually travel between different countries fairly frequently). 

Businessweek posted an article on this recently and the price of the iPhone (entry level model, unlocked 16GB iPhone 5S) can vary from $650 in US to $1200 in Brazil. So by buying in US and selling in Brazil, one can technically make almost 50% profit and this market in countries outside US is thriving. In India from example, the iPhone 5S sells for Rs. 48000 or approximately $800. In India its not just the latest iPhones that can sell at a premium compared to their US prices. A used iPhone 5 can sell for almost Rs. 25000 or approximately more than $400! In US you can sell it for around $200 to $250 at best. So letting aside the legitimacy of buying an iPhone in one country and selling it for profit in an another, iPhone price dynamics are interesting to follow. 

Used iPhone 5 price offered by Apple (Source - Apple.com)

Used iPhone 5 price offered by Apple (Source - Apple.com)