How Consumers Benefit From A Global Economy

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 8, 2009
Updated • May 26, 2017

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.

price comparison global economy

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.

  • Xbox 360 Elite Console (120 GB Hard Drive) - 211,80€ Amazon UK ; 299€ Amazon DE (-87,20€)
  • Sony PLAYSTATION 3 Console (80 GB Model) - 323,96€ Amazon UK (+1 extra game) ; 389€ Amazon DE (-65,04€)
  • Killzone 2 PS3 - 39,08€ Amazon UK ; 59,97€ Amazon DE (-20,89€)
  • Empire Total War PC Game - 26,76€ Amazon UK ; 44,95€ Amazon DE (-18,19€)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - 24,85€ Amazon UK ; 44,95 Amazon DE (-20,1€)

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?

How Consumers Benefit From A Global Economy
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How Consumers Benefit From A Global Economy
The article discusses one option that consumers have in a global economy to benefit from cheaper prices in other countries just like companies.
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  1. Colin said on March 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Please be aware Amazon UK places export restrictions to all member’s of the EU,
    The restrictions apply to most electrical goods including Computers Cameras ….

    Delivery Restrictions

    Certain items bought from and from third-party sellers can be delivered only to certain countries.
    “Large items

    Any item that is 30 kg or heavier is considered a large item, e.g. a widescreen television (larger than 26″), some fitness equipment. Large items can only be delivered to mainland UK”

  2. Paul said on March 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Watch out for some sites bumping up the shipping for international orders because of the price difference (i have seen an increase in shipping costs recently).
    Also some UK shops wont ship electronics to Ireland because if they do they are supposed to pay a electronics recycling tax and take returns of old electronics eg., most smaller sites will though as they slip under the radar.
    I haven’t experienced this with other European sites but watch out for similar issues in other countries.
    I made the mistake of ordering windows XP from a German site and despite being assured it was in English I was stuck with a German version.
    I never had any tax issues with again they wont ship electronics to Ireland ;(

  3. inoxllor said on March 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm
    Reply is also a good site to look at. For those who live in EU countries it offers free shipping.

    I’ve also suggested a creation of an and an which would greatly improve our customer experience, instead of having multiple amazon and ebay sites for european countries.

    If you agree with this point of view, send that suggestion to the stores – lets make it happen! :D

    1. Martin said on March 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm
      Reply is however sending some (most?) of their goods from Jersey which means that you might have to pay taxes for the items.

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