Why are f-stop Gear products so expensive in SA?
People like to jump to the conclusion that it is because someone in the local supply chain is making a lot of money, but unfortunately for us, that is not the case. *Photo by Juan De Swardt
The real answer is import duty.
Virtually all backpacks or backpack systems are subject to a whopping 30% import tax. These taxes are supposed to protect local manufacturers by giving them a competitive edge against the rest of the globe. It works well to protect local businesses and jobs, but unfortunately in a situation like this, where there is no local competition for a product like fstop gear, it just enriches the tax collector.
If you consider the cost of the Tilopa in America at $319, you can calculate the correlating local price by multiplying it by x1.45 (15% VAT + 30% import duty).
$319*US price x 1.45*tax = $462
$462 x R14.50*exchange rate = R6 700
Our price R5 999
*based on prices and exchange rate as June 2019
If we took the approach of ‘screw the consumer, we deserve the same margin as other countries’, we would price the Tilopa at R6700 (our price is R5999). Luckily we’re not greedy and we’re incredibly passionate about the brand, so we sacrifice a huge chunk of our margin in order to try and keep the product affordable, despite the local taxes.
We know it’s tempting to buy it in the US and have it shipped here, but you will be slapped with the same 45% taxes when it has to go through customs. It is also worth noting that in a small market like SA, importers have smaller margins because we cannot benefit from the economy of scale as similar brands can in the large first world markets.
We barely scrape a profit on this brand - we import it because like most photographers, we tried multiple bags from multiple brands and hated every single one. Fstop gear is the only company that makes a comfortable, practical, high quality backpack for adventurous photographers.