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The cheapest countries to buy a MacBook Air

You might be surprised at how much less some countries are paying than others for the flagship Apple laptop.
By
December 22, 2023
apple macbook air 15 inch lid
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Apple MacBook Air is the epitome of a high-end and ultra-portable laptop. It’s also a good choice if you’re an Apple fan without the full funds for the MacBook Pro. But it’s hardly in the budget category, with the most affordable model starting at $1,099 plus tax in the USA. You’re probably aware that the pricing of the machine isn’t uniform across the globe, which begs the question, which is the cheapest place to buy the MacBook Air? We’ve compared the pricing in dozens of countries to see if you could save money by buying it abroad.

There are a few different models of the MacBook Air, each with different variations based on storage and other specs. We’ll just be looking at the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage and the M2 chip for the purpose of this comparison. That’s partly because it saves everyone a lot of time, but the main factor is that knowing the cheapest places in the world to buy this model of the MacBook Air is a very strong guide to the other models. We’ll go into why prices vary so much between regions, but price structures are fairly consistent within each country. In other words, you’re not going to find that the country with the least expensive 13-inch MacBook Air is going to be the most expensive for the 15-inch model.

We also want to workshop this from the point of view of a US tourist buying the MacBook Air abroad. This is relevant because many countries, including the US, charge a sales tax on devices like the MacBook. This means you end up paying significantly more than the list price by the time you’re at the checkout in America. But on the flip side, a visitor to a country is often eligible to avoid this tax or claim it back before they leave that nation. You can see why this could add to the appeal of buying abroad.

With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at the numbers.

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Australia is currently the cheapest place for a US resident to buy the MacBook Air, closely followed by Thailand and Vietnam.


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What are the cheapest countries to buy a MacBook Air?

Below are the approximate prices of the MacBook Air in almost 40 different countries. The prices are in their equivalent USD value and ranked from cheapest to most expensive.

RankCountryUSD EquivalentRankCountryUSD Equivalent
Rank
1
Country
Australia
USD Equivalent
$1,044
Rank
21
Country
Hungary
USD Equivalent
$1,258
Rank
2
Country
Thailand
USD Equivalent
$1,046
Rank
22
Country
Philippines
USD Equivalent
$1,260
Rank
3
Country
Vietnam
USD Equivalent
$1,059
Rank
23
Country
China
USD Equivalent
$1,261
Rank
4
Country
Taiwan
USD Equivalent
$1,062
Rank
24
Country
Ireland
USD Equivalent
$1,264
Rank
5
Country
Singapore
USD Equivalent
$1,081
Rank
25
Country
Portugal
USD Equivalent
$1,264
Rank
6
Country
South Korea
USD Equivalent
$1,097
Rank
26
Country
Finland
USD Equivalent
$1,270
Rank
7
Country
Malaysia
USD Equivalent
$1,114
Rank
27
Country
Czech Republic
USD Equivalent
$1,270
Rank
8
Country
Japan
USD Equivalent
$1,138
Rank
28
Country
Italy
USD Equivalent
$1,274
Rank
9
Country
Hong Kong
USD Equivalent
$1,152
Rank
29
Country
Chile
USD Equivalent
$1,281
Rank
10
Country
UAE
USD Equivalent
$1,202
Rank
30
Country
Norway
USD Equivalent
$1,287
Rank
11
Country
United States (inc. tax)
USD Equivalent
$1,203
Rank
31
Country
Sweden
USD Equivalent
$1,292
Rank
12
Country
Luxembourg
USD Equivalent
$1,205
Rank
32
Country
Switzerland
USD Equivalent
$1,305
Rank
13
Country
Canada
USD Equivalent
$1,211
Rank
33
Country
Denmark
USD Equivalent
$1,327
Rank
14
Country
New Zealand
USD Equivalent
$1,216
Rank
34
Country
Mexico
USD Equivalent
$1,330
Rank
15
Country
Spain
USD Equivalent
$1,226
Rank
35
Country
India
USD Equivalent
$1,377
Rank
16
Country
Austria
USD Equivalent
$1,229
Rank
36
Country
Poland
USD Equivalent
$1,424
Rank
17
Country
France
USD Equivalent
$1,235
Rank
37
Country
United Kingdom
USD Equivalent
$1,442
Rank
18
Country
Belgium
USD Equivalent
$1,238
Rank
38
Country
Turkey
USD Equivalent
$1,480
Rank
19
Country
Germany
USD Equivalent
$1,214
Rank
39
Country
Brazil
USD Equivalent
$2,535
Rank
20
Country
Netherlands
USD Equivalent
$1,245
Rank

Country

USD Equivalent

Our thanks go to The Mac Index website, which has compiled the prices of each MacBook Air variant in each country. You can head over there to check out the comparisons for other variants of the laptop, as well as many other Apple devices.

In order to represent the price that a US resident will pay, the sales tax has been included for the US entry in the table. This varies depending on the state you’re in, but 9% to 10% is fairly standard. With the base model of this MacBook Air having a retail price of $1,099, this works out to a little over $100 extra once your new MacBook is shipped. Conversely, the countries in which you can avoid the sales tax while on vacation have had it deducted in the rundown for the purpose of the comparison.

Australia is the cheapest place to buy the MacBook Air.

Australia is the cheapest place to buy the MacBook Air at the time of writing. A US tourist can get the Apple laptop for the equivalent of $1,044 down under, which works out to savings of over $150 compared to buying it at home. Australia is very closely followed by Thailand, Vietnam, and a few other Southeast Asian nations.

Brazil is by far the most expensive place in the world to buy the MacBook Air amongst those we looked at. Paying with US dollars, you’re looking at an outlay of more than $2,500, which is more than twice the amount you’d be paying in America. We’ll go into some possible reasons for that below.

But didn’t I see it cheaper than that when I was on vacation?

Quite possibly. We’re not saying that there aren’t vendors who will attempt to get your custom by selling you a cut-price MacBook Air. What’s being compared here is the retail price of the laptop from the official Apple outlet in each country. It’s your prerogative if you want to purchase big-ticket items from third-party vendors in a different part of the world, but we’d advise you to be very wary about deals that look a bit too good to be true. It could be a bargain, but it could also be second-hand, stolen, or some type of imitation model.

We also can’t account for deals you might find on the MacBook Air, especially at this time of year. Carrier deals, bundles, trade-ins, or straight-up discounts happen all around the world, including in the US. You should be alert to whether any deal you’re getting is subject to hidden terms and conditions, but plenty of discounts could be genuine. For example, the 15-inch MacBook Air usually retails for almost $1,300 in the USA, but you can currently get it for $999 on Amazon.

Should I buy the MacBook Air from another country?

If you happen to find yourself passing through a country in which the MacBook Air is noticeably cheaper than the US, you may decide to take advantage of the savings. But we’d suggest it probably isn’t worth it. You first have the hassle of having to claim back the tax on the device before you leave, although this can often be done at the airport. You have the further risk that the software configuration for that country may be different from the ones you’re used to back home. There are also warranty issues — Once you’re thousands of miles away from the nation in which you purchased the device, any warranty that it came with is likely to either be very difficult to use or completely void. Is all of that worth the maximum 15% savings?

There certainly isn’t any point in traveling across the globe with the sole purpose of getting a cheap MacBook Air. The costs you will incur in airfares and accommodation will far exceed any savings you’ll make. And, as we highlighted above, it’s not uncommon to see a retail deal on the MacBook Air that makes it as cheap, if not cheaper, than the retail price of the laptop anywhere in the world.

Why is the MacBook Air cheaper in some countries and more expensive in others?

apple macbook air 15 inch launchpad with motorola razr plus
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The cost of getting the MacBook Air onto shelves or delivered to customers varies widely in different parts of the world. There are various taxes and duties to consider, labor costs in the supply chain, and 1,000 other things. There’s also the consumer spending power to consider. Apple undoubtedly takes all of these factors into account when deciding how to price its hardware in each economy in order to maximize sales and profit.

There are also exchange rates to account for. This is one of the factors for Apple in the above economic equation, but it’s also one for us, as we’re doing this comparison in US dollars. It has been a particularly turbulent time for the global market in recent years, and this causes the value of each currency compared to another to change at quite a dynamic rate. Australia might appear to be the cheapest place to buy a MacBook Pro in USD today, but it would only take a small increase in the Thai Bhat in dollar terms, and Thailand might top the list. We’ll revisit and update this post periodically for this reason.


FAQs

The MacBook Air is cheaper than the MacBook Pro. The Air starts at $1,099 at the US Apple store, which the most affordable MacBook Pro is $1,599.