The price to import tech at R17.95 to the US dollar

South Africa’s economy has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing 21-day lockdown imposed on all citizens.

The rand’s value has also plummeted after ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the country to junk status, reaching R18.03 to the dollar this week.

This means that South Africans looking to purchase products from international retailers will be paying more than ever before.

MyBroadband previously compared the prices of tech products on Amazon against local retailers to determine whether it was cheaper to import or to buy locally.

This initial comparison took place in January 2020, when the rand was around R14.37 to the US dollar.

Following the weakening of the rand in recent weeks, we have looked at the same tech products available on Amazon and have used updated pricing and exchange rate figures to determine how much more expensive it is to import products from the United States.

At the time of writing, the South African exchange rate was R17.95 to the US dollar.


30 January 2020

The price to import tech products from Amazon compared to South African pricing, based on figures recorded on January 2020.

Tech Prices – January 2020
Item Import, Taxes, Delivery Fees US Price Final Price
Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SSD – Amazon $29.67 $199.99 $229.66 / R3,300
Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SSD – Local R5,299
ASUS RT-AX88U Router – Amazon $78.15 $288.88 $366.63 / R5,268
ASUS RT-AX88U Router – Local R7,099
Samsung U28E590D Monitor – Amazon $199.72 $369.99 $569.17 / R8,117
Samsung U28E590D Monitor – Local R5,999
Samsung Galaxy S10+ 128GB – Amazon $232.55 $999.99 $1,232.54 / R17,708
Samsung Galaxy S10+ 128GB – Local R18,999
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Amazon $59.50 $329.00 $388.50 / R5,582
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Local R4,398
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – Amazon $74.06 $309.99 $384.05 / R5,518
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – Local R5,299

March 2020

The updated prices of the same products from Amazon and local retailers, based on the exchange rate of R17.95 to the US dollar, are below.

Where updated delivery fees were not available for the products on Amazon, we used those recorded in the previous comparison.

Tech Prices – March 2020
Item Import, Taxes, Delivery Fees US Price Final Price
Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SSD – Amazon $29.67 $198.99 $228.66 / R4,112
Samsung 860 Evo 1TB SSD – Local R3,699
ASUS RT-AX88U Router – Amazon $78.15 $299.99 $378.14 / R6,800
ASUS RT-AX88U Router – Local R7,099
Samsung U28E590D Monitor – Amazon $199.72 $399.77 $599.49 / R10,780
Samsung U28E590D Monitor – Local R4,999
Samsung Galaxy S10+ 128GB – Amazon $48.30 $714.07 $762.37 / R13,709
Samsung Galaxy S10+ 128GB – Local R18,999
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Amazon $59.50 $249.99 $309.49 / R5,565
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – Local R3,999
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – Amazon $74.06 $254.44 $328.50 / R5,907
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – Local R5,999

Findings

South African products remain the cheaper choice compared to their imported counterparts, especially considering the current exchange rate.

Notable exceptions included older smartphones and CPUs, which seem to have had their prices cut in the US – but not yet in South Africa.

In addition to the costs and struggles involved with shipping, a major caveat with importing tech from the US is that it may not come with local support.

When buying a product directly from the US you are essentially buying a grey import. This means no local support or any of the warranties you would receive if you bought your items from a local retailer.

SARS also requires citizens who bring in more than three import consignments per year to apply for an importer’s code, as they are the “importer of record” when buying from Amazon.

It is important to note that the sale of non-essential items in South Africa is currently prohibited due to the national 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

This means that you will not be able to facilitate the delivery of many imported products until the lockdown is lifted.


Now read: Naspers pledges R1.5 billion to fight coronavirus in South Africa

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The price to import tech at R17.95 to the US dollar