Prices in the UK

Tags: — Allan @ 8:05 pm

Why is it that the UK is so over-priced on virtually everything? Yes, there is 17.5% VAT (sales tax), but other places have both higher tax rates and lower prices. Then there is the issue of space: the population density in the UK is high and shop floor space is at a premium. Still, you’d think that an online shop could keep their costs down somehow.

A few weeks ago, I wanted to buy a new switch, and settled on the Netgear GS108, which is a cool 8-port GBit switch. A quick search on the web found that it costs US$118 at some US retailer, or around £65. At Micro Anvika, they charge £254 plus tax for the same device – almost 4 times as much!!

At Broadbandbuyer, it costs £81; a markup of 25% over the US price. Fortunately, I could get it at eBuyer for £75 plus taxes, which is actually not bad – only a 15% markup. But as discussed in a previous article, they are not necessarily where you want to buy your gear.

So what about things that don’t require anything other than bandwidth and disk space? Software needs to be localized so it’s not necessarily possible to get the same price everywhere – but a ring tone for a mobile phone must surely cost the same everywhere?

So I went to Nokia’s site in the UK and the one in Denmark since both sites sell exactly the same ring tones for exactly the same tones – probably from the same server somewhere in Finland.

The result? In the UK, a polyphonic ring tone costs £3. In Denmark, it costs kr15, which is £1.36. For the very same ring tone. Of course, you can only buy them at Danish prices if you have a Danish mobile phone…

The question I have to ask is… why?