Flat screens in Argentina priced twice as high as in Chile
A report by German market research firm GfK has found that while the average retail price of a flat screen TV in Chile is US$452, in neighbouring Argentina consumers are being asked to pay over twice as much (US$913).
Brazil is even more expensive: US$1,007 for the same item.
There are several factors that explain such a large price gap between TV models whose only difference often resides in the country of purchase. One of the most important is the hefty import tariffs that have been imposed by countries such as Argentina and Brazil.
Another reason, particularly affecting Argentina, is the high inflation rate that the country has been suffering from during the past few years, which according to most estimates is around 20% at the moment.
"In Argentina the Consumer Price Index grows at a considerably higher rate than it does in our country," Fernando Allel, business manager, Consumer Electronics & Entertainment at GfK Chile told Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
Meanwhile, TV manufacturer AOC has suggested that also explaining the mismatch in regional prices is the fact that some TV vendors tend to use the Chilean market as a test platform before launching new models in other Latin American markets.
Another important factor at play might be imbalances in currency exchange rates. While in countries such as Argentina and Brasil the US Dollar has tended to go up, in Chile it has been gradually falling over the past year, which has put downward pressure on the prices of most consumer electronics products.
According to GfK figures, the price of flat screens, laptops and smartphones sold in Chile fell over 13% between August 2010 and August 2011.