iPhone Xs vs Samsung Galaxy S9 – US dollar to SA rand markup

Apple recently launched its new iPhones, with the the iStore opening pre-orders for the devices soon afterwards.

The dollar prices for the iPhones start at $999 for the 64GB iPhone Xs, and go up to $1,449 for the 512GB iPhone Xs Max.

Locally, the prices start at R21,999 for a 64GB iPhone Xs and go up to R31,999 for a 512GB iPhone Xs Max.

MyBroadband recently compared the US dollar launch prices against the local rand prices, which showed a substantial markup for the iPhones.

While a straight conversion to rand omits elements like VAT, import tariffs and duties, and shipping and business costs, it does provide a benchmark for the markup which takes place in the process.

Angry South Africans

Many readers were quick to criticise the iStore for its local price markup, and stated that it would be cheaper to fly to the US and buy the phones.

To see if this criticism is fair, we looked at Apple’s main competitor in the smartphone arena – Samsung – and what the dollar-to-rand differences were for their new smartphones.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S9 and S9+ on 25 February 2018, with South African pre-orders opening the same day. At the time, the dollar-rand exchange rate was R11.55 to $1.

Samsung then released its Galaxy Note 9 on 9 August, with pre-orders in SA again opening on the same day. The exchange rate at the time was R13.40 to the dollar.

The table below compares the US dollar pricing, the rand pricing, and the straight conversion from dollar-to-rand pricing for the iPhone Xs and Xs Max, the Galaxy Note 9, and the Galaxy S9 and S9+.

As the table shows, steep markups are common for Samsung and Apple when compared to US dollar prices.

iPhone Xs and Xs Max
Device Dollar Price ZAR Price Conversion (R14.45 – 20 Sep)
iPhone Xs (64GB) $999 R21,999 R14,440
iPhone Xs (256GB) $1,149 R24,999 R16,600
iPhone Xs (512GB) $1,349 R29,999 R19,500
iPhone Xs Max (64GB) $1,099 R23,999 R15,890
iPhone Xs Max (256GB) $1,249 R26,999 R18,050
iPhone Xs Max (512GB) $1,449 R31,999 R20,900
Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9
Device Dollar Price ZAR Price Conversion (R11.55 – 25 Feb / R13.40 – 9 Aug)
Galaxy S9 (64GB) $720 R15,499 R8,320
Galaxy S9+ (128GB) $889 R17,999 R10,270
Galaxy Note 9 (128GB) $999 R18,999 R13,390

Now read: When to expect affordable 5G routers

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iPhone Xs vs Samsung Galaxy S9 – US dollar to SA rand markup