Brexit & Article 50: How Brits are paying up to 25% more for gadgets since EU referendum

As Theresa May signs the Article 50 letter to trigger Brexit, we look at how gadget price rises already mean we’re paying more for our tech.

On June 24, 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union, sending the value of the British pound plummeting.

Now, TrustedReviews can reveal that, based on our research of 38 products and services, we’re already paying up to 25% more for tech and software due to the weakening value of sterling as companies increase their prices to protect profit margins.

A Sonos Connect, for example, has risen from a suggested price of £279 in January 2017 to £349 at time of publication, a 25.09% (£70) increase on the previous price.

There’s great variation in the level of increase, too. A 128GB 9.7-inch iPad Pro went up by just 3.23% (£20), but the 32GB version rose by just over 10% (£50).

The most extreme example we found, and something of an outlier, was a student subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, which went from £15.49 to £25.28 on March 7, 2017 – a huge 63.2% price hike. Over a full year, that means a student would pay £117.28 extra.

Across the 38 products and services we looked at, we saw an average price rise of 16.45%.

We’re yet to see whether this trend will continue across all sectors of consumer electronics, but the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Dell, HTC and Sonos have all made permanent increases to their prices.

Below we’ve compiled all the official price increases, and the companies’ statements where available. You can also scroll to the bottom of the page for a table listing all the price increases included in our research.

Know of a price rise we haven’t spotted, or a price drop? Comment at the bottom of this story to let us know.

Adobe

Earlier this year, Adobe announced that it would be increasing the price of several Creative Cloud plans. On March 6, 2017, we saw the following price hikes:

  • Photography Plan – Was £8.57 | Now £10.10
  • Student Creative Cloud Plan – Was £15.49 | Now £25.28
  • Creative Cloud bundle – Was £45.73 | Now £50.57

Adobe says:

Currency exchange rates have fluctuated significantly over the last few years. Like many US-based global companies, Adobe is making pricing adjustments to offset fluctuations in foreign exchange rate. A number of markets have been impacted including Brazil, UK, and Sweden. Existing customers will receive information about their subscription pricing directly from Adobe.”

“We monitor currency fluctuations and make adjustments only when necessary. Our ability to align with fluctuations in currency rates will enable us to continually innovate and deliver great value through our products and services. We will continue to provide world-class products and services at a compelling value for all of our members.”

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Apple

After Apple’s September 7, 2016 product launch event, prices increased on several accessories, including:

  • Apple Pencil – Was £79 | Now £99
  • Apple Watch Sport Band – Was £39 | Now £49
  • Smart Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro – Was £139 | Now £169
  • Apple Battery Case for iPhone 6S – Was £79 | Now £99

Prices also increased on several iPad models following the same event:

  • iPad Pro (9.7”, 32GB) – Was £499 | Now £549
  • iPad Pro (9.7”, 128GB) – Was £619 | Now £639
  • iPad Pro (12.9”) – Was £679 | Now £729
  • iPad Pro (12.9”, 128GB, LTE) – Was £899 | Now £939
  • iPad Air 2 (32GB) – Was £349 | Now £379
  • iPad Air 2 (32GB, LTE) – Was £449 | Now £499

Apple also released the iPhone 7 at this event, touting a retail price of £599. This was significantly higher than the £539 launch price of the iPhone 6S, the equivalent model from the year before.

iPad Pro 3

Following another launch event on October 27, 2016, Apple increased UK prices across Mac products:

  • MacBook Air (13”) 2015 – Was £849 | Now £949
  • MacBook (12”) 2015 – Was £1,049 | Now £1,249
  • MacBook Pro (13”) 2015 – Was £999 « Now £1,249
  • MacBook Pro (15”) 2015 – Was £1,599 | Now £1,899
  • Mac Mini – Was £399 | Now £479
  • Mac Pro – Was £2,499 | Now £2,999
  • iMac – Was £899 | Now £1,049

Apple says:

“Apple suggests product prices internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, local import laws, business practices, taxes, and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time, such that international prices are not always comparable to US retail prices.”

On January 17, 2017, Apple increased the minimum sale price for apps by 25%. This meant that an App Store app that would have cost you £0.79 would now retail at £0.99.

The California-based company continues:

Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time.”

Dell

On July 1, 2016, Dell informed its retail partners of a blanket price increase of 10% for products.

Dell says:

“In line with the rest of the industry, our component costs are priced in US dollars, and unfortunately, the recent strengthening of the US dollar versus sterling and other currencies in the EMEA region, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, will have a direct impact on the price we sell to our UK customers and partners.”

Facebook

On August 24, 2016, it was noted that the price of the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift virtual reality headset had been quietly increased from £499 to £549.

Facebook didn’t issue a public statement about the increase at the time.

HTC

Even though the HTC Vive was already the most expensive virtual reality headset on the market, currency pressures forced HTC to reconsider pricing.

HTC Vive

On August 1, 2016, the HTC Vive rose from its original price of £689 to a far higher £759.

HTC says:

“HTC continuously monitors and adjusts pricing to ensure we are providing our customers with the best value possible. Due to recent currency valuation changes and the current value of the GBP, we are adjusting the price of the HTC Vive in the UK to £759 + P&P. We are committed to providing the best possible VR experience with Vive and would like to thank our UK customers and partners for their continued support.”

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Microsoft

Microsoft’s first post-referendum price rise began on January 1, 2017, when the company increase Azure enterprise software prices by 13%, and Azure cloud services prices by 22%.

But the more controversial hikes came when Microsoft quietly increased the price of several Microsoft Surface products, including:

Microsoft says:

“Microsoft is announcing British pound changes to harmonise its prices for enterprise software and cloud services within the EU/European Free Trade Agreement region.

“Starting January 1, 2017, British pounds prices for on-premises enterprise software will increase by 13 per cent and most cloud prices in British pounds will increase by 22 per cent to realign close to euro levels.

“Even after this adjustment, customers across the region buying in British pound will still find our cloud offerings highly competitive.”

Of its consumer product price increased, the Redmond, Washington Stated-based firm added:

“In response to a recent review, we are adjusting the British pound prices of some of our hardware and consumer software in order to align to market dynamics. For indirect sales where our products and services are sold through partners, final prices will continue to be determined by them,” the company added.

OnePlus

Despite only being launched in mid-June, the OnePlus 3 smartphone received a price hike on July 11, 2016, rising from £309 to £329.

OnePlus says:

We’ve seen a downward trend for the Pound against the USD over the past few months. While we’ve held off action for as long as we can, the sharp drop witnessed in the currency markets following the Brexit decision has forced us to re-evaluate the One plus 3’s pricing in the UK at a time of significant demand.”

“Given the effects of the unstable markets on our extremely thin margins, we’re reluctantly going to have to make some small changes to our pricing structure for the [OnePlus 3]. There’s still time to pick up the device at the current price of £309. We said that we’d give you as much notice as possible, and we’re committed to taking the hit over the next few days and absorbing the resulting losses.”

Sonos

In February this year, speaker giant Sonos confirmed a number of product price hikes.

  • Sonos Play:1 – Was £169 | Now £199
  • Sonos Play:3 – Was £259 | Now £299
  • Sonos Play:5 – Was £429 | Now £499
  • Sonos Connect – Was £279 | Now £349
  • Sonos Connect:Amp – Was £399 | Now £499

Unsurprisingly, the news didn’t go down well with consumers who questioned whether it was fair to impose such significant price bumps on old products. For instance, the Sonos Play:1 was released in October 2013, while the Sonos Play:3 is even older, launching back in July 2011.

Sonos Play 5

Sonos says:

“We pay for everything we make in US dollars. Over recent months, there has been a significant change on the US dollar to GBP exchange rate. As a result, our existing pricing has become unsustainable and, like many other companies, we have to increase prices for all products priced in GBP.”

Brexit Prices: Summary of post-referendum tech pricing

Here’s a table mapping price changes for some key products following the UK’s EU referendum:

Company Product Date of Price rise Original Price New Price Price Rise Percentage Change
Adobe Photography Plan 07/03/2017 £8.57 £10.10 £1.53 17.85%
Adobe Student Creative Cloud 07/03/2017 £15.49 £25.28 £9.79 63.20%
Adobe Creative Cloud bundle 07/03/2017 £45.73 £50.57 £4.84 10.58%
Adobe Full Creative Cloud team 07/03/2017 £53.20 £59 £5.80 10.90%
Apple Apple Pencil 07/09/2016 £79 £99 £20.00 25.32%
Apple Apple Watch Sport Band 07/09/2016 £39 £49 £10.00 25.64%
Apple Smart Keyboard for 12.9″ iPad Pro 07/09/2016 £139 £169 £30.00 21.58%
Apple Apple Battery Case for iPhone 6S 07/09/2016 £79 £99 £20.00 25.32%
Apple App Store apps 17/01/2017 £0.79 £0.99 £0.20 25.32%
Apple iPad Pro (32GB, 9.7″) 07/09/2016 £499 £549 £50.00 10.02%
Apple iPad Pro (128GB, 9.7″) 07/09/2016 £619 £639 £20.00 3.23%
Apple iPad Pro (12.9″) 07/09/2016 £679 £729 £50.00 7.36%
Apple iPad Pro (128GB, 12.9″, LTE) 07/09/2016 £899 £939 £40.00 4.45%
Apple iPad Air 2 (32GB) 07/09/2016 £349 £379 £30.00 8.60%
Apple iPad Air 2 (32GB, LTE) 07/09/2016 £449 £499 £50.00 11.14%
Apple MacBook Air (13″) 2015 27/10/2016 £849 £949 £100.00 11.78%
Apple MacBook (12″) 2016 27/10/2016 £1,049 £1,249 £200.00 19.07%
Apple MacBook Pro (13″) 2015 27/10/2016 £999 £1,249 £250.00 25.03%
Apple MacBook Pro (15″) 2015 27/10/2016 £1,599 £1,899 £300.00 18.76%
Apple Mac Mini 27/10/2016 £399 £479 £80.00 20.05%
Apple Mac Pro 27/10/2016 £2,499 £2,999 £500.00 20.01%
Apple iMac 27/10/2016 £899 £1,049 £150.00 16.69%
Apple iPhone 7 (32GB) 07/09/2016 £539 (iPhone 6S) £599 £60.00 11.13%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (256GB) 07/09/2016 £819 (iPhone 6S Plus) £919 £100.00 12.21%
Dell Blanket price rise 01/07/2016 £0.00 10.00%
Facebook Oculus Rift 24/08/2016 £499 £549 £50.00 10.02%
HTC HTC Vive 01/08/2016 £689 £759 £70.00 10.16%
Microsoft Azure Enterprise Software 01/01/2017 £0.00 13.00%
Microsoft Azure Cloud Services 01/01/2017 £0.00 22.00%
Microsoft Microsoft Surface Book (128GB) 15/02/2017 £1,299 £1,449 £150.00 11.55%
Microsoft Microsoft Surface Book (1TB/i7) 15/02/2017 £2,649 £3,049 £400.00 15.10%
Microsoft Microsoft Surface Pro 4 15/02/2017 £2,159 £2,199 £40.00 1.85%
OnePlus OnePlus 3 11/07/2016 £309 £329 £20.00 6.47%
Sonos Play:1 23/02/2017 £169 £199 £30.00 17.75%
Sonos Play:3 23/02/2017 £259 £299 £40.00 15.44%
Sonos Play:5 23/02/2017 £429 £499 £70.00 16.32%
Sonos Connect 23/02/2017 £279 £349 £70.00 25.09%
Sonos Connect:Amp 23/02/2017 £399 £499 £100.00 25.06%

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Have you spotted any tech product price rises we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

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