The unusual pricing of electronics in Sri Lanka

I was looking to buy a new laptop and I was doing some shopping online. I was tracking the pricing of the new M1 MacBook air, since two weeks after its release, I found the first M1 MacBooks in Sri Lanka priced at Rs 245,000.

Since it was out of my budget, I waited for another week to see the price gradually drop, other sellers priced the laptop at Rs 235,000, then I saw the price drop to Rs 220,000 and then to the lowest I have seen, Rs 217,000. Basically everyone was competing against each other to provide the lowest price possible.

All this happened in a short time period of 2 weeks, according to the trend I was hoping for the price to further reduce because even if you convert the $999 price of the M1 MacBook to local currency it rounds to around Rs 187,000.

Then, all of a sudden the price began to increase, from Rs 220,000 to Rs 225,000 to Rs 230,000 and reaching around Rs 237,000 – Rs 240,000. While the price of the M1 MacBook remains at $999 everywhere else.

$1000 in Sri Lankan Rupees

When I asked about the wired price bump from some of my friends who sell computers, it was purely due to the demand and the lack of supply. The M1 MacBook was having a higher demand, and the stocks within the country were running out.

Sensing the opportunity the sellers increased their prices, to reap insane amounts of profits. I know these sellers will have to cover some costs and make a profit, but these amounts of profits can be considered unethical.

Some sellers were telling me two different prices depending on the time I buy. If I to buy the laptop today I would have to pay extra Rs 10,000. And I will get a Rs 10,000 discount if I make an advanced payment and wait till January. While the price of the M1 MacBook remains to be $999 everywhere else.

The prices of Apple’s authorized dealers in Sri Lanka will be higher than everyone else.

Why do people have to pay an insane amount of money to buy electronic items in Sri Lanka?

Is it because there is no regulation on pricing and the price is controlled by a few importers and sellers of electronics? Can we get a fair price if the price is regulated by the government, not by supply and demand?

The scenario is not too different when it comes to iPhones and other electronics, this was another post I came across on my newsfeed about a frustrated consumer about the pricing of the new iPhone 12 in Sri Lanka.

When are we going to expect reasonable pricing for electronics in Sri Lanka? Have you ever had any similar experience when buying electronics in Sri Lanka?