Companies reserve the right to produce, ship and distribute their goods globally. Many produce in cheap labor countries like China, ship the goods around the globe to sell it high in countries like the United States or the European Union.
It is a natural process to them because the process saves them lots of money. When customers try the same they usually reach artificial borders pretty soon. Some companies - like Sony - go even that far to forbid customers from one country or continent to purchase goods in another. Another example would be cheap mp3, digital game or movie online stores in Russia and the Ukraine. Although perfectly legal in the home country, they are targets of the movie and music industry who do not want customers from other countries purchasing the cheaper digital goods there.
There are other means to benefit from a global economy though, especially if you happen to live in a free trade zone like the European Union. Internet users have the power to compare product prices across several countries to save lots of money. What better way to prove this than to compare the prices of an online shop that is having stores in several countries. Take the German and British Amazon store as an example. Germans can buy in the British store and Brits can do the same in the German store without having to pay taxes or additional fees.
The decline of the British pound made it very attractive for citizens of countries that use the Euro as currency to purchase some of their goods in the UK. Here is a short list of goods that are both available in the UK and German Amazon store. Note: If you are French, Spanish or from any other country simply compare the prices with those local stores. All prices have been calculated in Euro using the latest currency exchange rates for better comparison.
Not everything - but almost anything - is cheaper in the Amazon UK store. I have started buying all my gaming and DVD related purchases in the Amazon store. There are however a few things that people should consider. First of all, it might be necessary to buy a power converter for systems that require power. Not a huge problem as they tend to sell for a few bucks. Another aspect is the language. Many games and DVDs ship with several languages supported but this is not always the case. Not a huge problem if you speak and understand English but could be problematic for users who do not.
All items will be shipped by Amazon and there will be no additional taxes on the items. You usually have to pay for shipping and handling though which is a few Euros the most for items. This is one of the prime examples why it makes sense to look across the border to find the same goods for a cheaper price. Most customers from Euro currency countries will benefit from the prices in the Amazon UK store. There is unfortunately nothing comparable in the United States at the moment. If you purchase goods in Europe you will have to pay taxes and vice verse, and the shipping costs are way higher than the ones from one European country to the other.
You can save money if you check for items that you want to purchase in other countries that are nearby. Ideally, they are in the same trade zone so that you are not subject to import taxes or high packaging costs.
You may be able to save quite a bit of money. There are some downsides to this though. First, that it is more difficult to return an item. Second, that you may need power converters or other converts to get something to run in another country. Third, that it takes more research to find the best option.
Do you have any additional tips on how to save money using the global economy to your advantage?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.