By Prasad Kopanati
on Nov 8, 2015 at 11.15AM
Now that the iPhone 6S has officially launched in both India and the US, you might wonder whether you should buy the phone in the US or in India.
As you might have noticed, the phone’s retail price is much lower in US stores. But are there hidden costs associated with buying from these stores? What are the options for shipping a phone bought in the US to India?
In this blog post, I’ll try to answer these questions by discussing the options you have for buying the latest iPhone in the US, and the costs you might incur when doing so.
After reading this post, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision on whether to buy your new phone in the US or in India.
Let’s get started!
First, let’s look at the retail price of the product.
The US retail prices of an iPhone 6S are $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models respectively.
The prices of the iPhone 6S Plus are $749, $849 and $949 for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models respectively.
In India, prices start at Rs 62,000 ($954) for a iPhone 6S 16GB version. They increase to Rs 72,000 ($1108) for a 64GB model and to Rs 82,000 ($1262) for a 128GB model.
|Model||Price in USA ($)||Price in India (INR)|
|iPhone 6S 16GB||649||62K (~ $954)|
|iPhone 6S 64GB||749||72K (~ $1108)|
|iPhone 6S 128GB||849||82K (~ $1262)|
The price of a 6S Plus is Rs 72,000 ($1108), Rs 82,000 ($1262) and Rs 92,000 ($1415) for the 16GB, 64GB and 128GB variants respectively. (1 USD = 65 INR).
|Model||Price in USA ($)||Price in India (INR)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 16GB||749||72K (~ $1108)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 64GB||849||82K (~ $1262)|
|iPhone 6S Plus 128GB||949||92K (~ $1415)|
The prices in US are lower compared to prices in India. However, you may incur other costs for shipping, insurance, and import duty & taxes. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
Shipping and insurance
To understand the shipping costs, let’s look at the various shipping methods. There are three shipping methods:
1) Ask a friend to carry: Ship using a friend or family member who travels from the US to India.
2) Ask a friend to do an international mail: Ask a friend to mail it to your address in India.
3) ManyShip: Find carry-heroes on ManyShip.
From our research, the 1st and 3rd options are the most convenient and cost-effective ways to ship to India. I will discuss these options in greater detail, and discuss the 2nd option only briefly.
Ask a friend or family member to carry the phone
If you know someone who’s planning a trip to India, your best bet is to contact them and ask them to carry the phone back for you.
You simply buy the phone at a US online store and ship it to your friend at their home or work address.
The costs you incur will be the retail price of the phone, plus (possibly) the sales tax of the US state your friend or family member resides in.
If your friend lives in Oregon, Delaware, New Hampshire, or Alaska, you’ll pay zero sales tax on your device.
One major advantage with this option is that you get free shipping (though you may want to reward your friend for a job well done!).
In addition, you can avoid import duty and taxes by having your friend bring the device in to India as his or her personal item.
A word of caution: the Indian customs authorities are tightening the rules on importing iPhone 6S phones.
Entrusting a friend or family member with your phone may be a great option, as you can save a lot of money.
The major cost to you is the retail price of the iPhone or slightly more, depending on whether you pay sales tax (and whether you reward your buddy).
If option 1 won’t work for you, it’s still possible to leverage your contacts and ask them to mail the phone to you using a shipping company such as FedEx, USPS, DHL, or another similar firm.
Ask a friend or family member to mail the phone
The second option is to find a friend who can ship it to you at your address in India. Anil Gupta wrote a great article on how to use this option, and discusses in detail the various costs of shipping an iPhone from USA to India via FedEx.
Mani Karthik’s article on how to shop in USA and get it in India is an excellent read too. If either option 1 or 2 won’t work for you, then you can leverage the 3rd option of using Manyship.
I believe the 3rd option of using ManyShip is the most convenient, cost-effective and simple option.
Use ManyShip to shop in the USA and ship to India
ManyShip eliminates the inconvenience, reduces shipping costs, and makes it extremely easy to shop in US and ship to India. You also know the total cost up front (including the duty and taxes – yay!).
Simply put, it’s like shopping at a US online store and shipping to your address in India. This is a unique feature of ManyShip. Let’s look at the good things about ManyShip.
You simply pay for the product by browsing ManyShip’s catalog, add it to the cart and get it delivered to your home. ManyShip has an exhaustive catalog of products that you can shop from.
In fact, you can find on ManyShip’s site any product that you can find on Amazon.com (just one caveat though, that ManyShip may filter few products that do not fit the international delivery guidelines or size limitations).
Contrary to the other 2 options where you have to invest a lot of your time and money, your shopping experience is totally simplified using ManyShip.
Simple Shipping + Insurance Costs
ManyShip’s shipping cost structure is super simple (do you love the KISS principle as we do?). So you normally pay shipping costs between $49 and $299.
|Weight (lbs)||Cost ($)|
|0.1 lbs – 2 lbs||49|
|2.1 lbs – 4 lbs||69|
|4.1 lbs – 9 lbs||89|
|9.1 lbs – 15 lbs||99|
|15.1 lbs – Above||299|
Transparency and Clarity
You will know the total cost of the product before you buy – the total cost includes the shipping + insurance, customs duty and taxes, and handling charges. You don’t get any price related surprises at a later stage.
As shown in the chart below, ManyShip calculates the final price. (BTW, as you can see in the chart, regardless of the iPhone model you choose, it’s cheaper to buy in the US using ManyShip and ship to India than to buy directly in stores in India)
|Model||Retail price in USA ($)||Sales tax (@ 6%) ($)||Shipping +Insurance ($)||Import duty + taxes ($)||Total price in USA ($)||Total price in India ($)||Total savings ($)|
|iPhone 6S 16GB||649||39||49||101||838||954||116|
|iPhone 6S 64GB||749||45||49||115||958||1108||150|
|iPhone 6S 128GB||849||51||49||130||1079||1262||183|
|iPhone 6S Plus 16GB||749||45||69||118||981||1108||127|
|iPhone 6S Plus 64GB||849||51||69||132||1101||1262||161|
|iPhone 6S Plus 128GB||949||57||69||146||1221||1415||194|
With these advantages in using ManyShip, let’s look at the costs when using ManyShip.
With ManyShip, there are 2 different costs in addition to the product price:
1) The cost for shipping and insurance
2) The import duty and taxes
Shipping and Insurance
The shipping and insurance cost is $49 for all iPhone 6S models, and $69 for all iPhone 6S Plus models. Yes, it’s that simple!
Import duty and taxes
The import duty and taxes calculation is slightly complicated, so bear with me. (We did not make them complicated – these taxes and fees are mandated by the Government authorities.)
As shown in the image below, import duties and taxes are based on the retail price of the product, shipping cost, insurance, handling charges and associated charges incidental to delivery of the goods. (Source: Duty Calculator)
Let’s use an example and calculate the relevant import duty and taxes. The table below shows the calculation details for an iPhone 6S 64GB.
|1||Retail Price (C)||749.00|
|2||Insurance and Freight (IF)||49.00|
|3||Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF)||798.00|
|4||Duty (D) (0% of CIF)||0.00|
|5||Landing Charges (LC) (1% of CIF)||7.98|
|6||Countervailing Duty (CVD) (12.5% of (CIF + D + LC))||100.75|
|7||CEX (Education & Higher Education CESS) (3% of CVD)||3.02|
|8||CESS (3% of (D + CEX + CVD))||3.11|
|9||Additional Countervailing Duty (0% of (CIF + D + LC + CVD + CESS + CEX))||0.00|
|10||Total import duty and taxes||114.86|
|12||Total product price including shipping, insurance, duty & taxes||957.86|
Okay, let’s demystify the numbers.
Numbers 1 and 2 are self-explanatory – they are the retail price and shipping + insurance costs. Number 3 is the sum of the retail price, shipping and insurance, collectively called the CIF.
All other calculations are based on CIF. Numbers 4 to 9 are specific calculations based on the product and country.
Number 10 equals the total duty and taxes for the product and country. Number 11 is the total price, including import duty and taxes on the phone.
So you’ll pay a total of approximately $958 for buying an iPhone 6S 64GB in the US and shipping it to India.
Just compare this price with the total price of $1108 that you have to pay in Indian store. You save about $150 by buying from the US.
However, there’s one more important consideration: the product warranty.
According to various sources on the internet, the warranty on an iPhone is not applicable when the product is bought in one country and used in India.
This Quora article has various references to the warranty issue from real people who bought an iPhone in the US and used it in India. (Read the comments from various members, especially the comments by Raghu Venkataraman.)
In summary, buying an iPhone in the US and shipping it to India seems like a fine choice when you look at the numbers alone.
In each case, you can realize hundreds of dollars in savings. However, you need to consider the warranty aspect, too. The warranty on a US-bought iPhone may not be valid in India.
I hope this blog post has answered few of the questions you have (or had) and that you can now make an informed decision on whether to buy the iPhone 6S in the US or India.
Good luck with your phone hunt. I wish you a speedy road to ownership of the world’s most-loved phone!