Apple’s decision to uphold the price range for its newest iPhone 15 series versus the 14 series was welcomed by consumers in most countries. Except Korea.
Korean consumers are claiming that the iPhone 15’s price for the Korean market has technically been increased considering the faltering currency rate. They also expressed discontent over the fact that Korea was again excluded from the first tier of launch countries.
“Apple should stop disregarding Korean consumers,” a statement released Wednesday by the Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, a nonprofit consumer group based in Seoul, read.
“The price fix for Apple should be welcomed, but due to the exchange rate, it is hard to say that consumers are benefiting from it.”
Apple released the iPhone 15 series at a price range starting from $799 for the base model with a 128 gigabyte storage option which is the same as the previous version.
Apple Korea, consequently, disclosed the price of the same model at 1.25 million won, which is $932 given the current exchange rate of 1,340 won per dollar.
Even after considering the additional 10 percent consumption tax for the retail price in the United States, the Korean retail price for the iPhone 15 is approximately $53, or six percent, more expensive.
Considering Apple had increased the price of the iPhone 14 in Korea last year citing a currency issue when the won-to-dollar exchange rate was 1,379 won, it should be logical to drop the price since the rate fell to 1,328 won.
The discrepancy intensifies with costlier models.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max costs $1,199 for the 256 gigabyte storage option in the U.S. while its Korean price is set at 1.9 million won, translating to $1,418.
Its U.S. retail price would be approximately $1,319 which is almost $100, or seven percent, cheaper than in Korea.
Korea stands out even when compared with other Asian markets.
The base model of iPhone 15 in Japan is sold at 124,800 yen translating to $841. In China it’s sold at 5,999 yuan, translating to $820.
“[Apple] should apply the currency rate of the launch date,” the consumer group said.
Korean consumers have long expressed discontent toward Apple’s treatment of the domestic market, and the lack of priority.
Despite iPhone’s increasing market share in Korea, Apple has again left Korea out of its first- and second tier groups of countries releasing the iPhone 15 series.
Apple grabbed 34 percent of Korea’s smartphone market in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Counterpoint Research, up by two percentage points from a year earlier.
The first tier group includes iPhone’s biggest markets such as the U.S., China and Japan while the second tier includes Macao and Malaysia, among others.
The launch of iPhone 15 in Korea is expected in October.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]