Tomonaga (
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 15:59:53 +1300

Mark Simmons wrote:

> Tomonaga writes,
> >Hey Eddie, 4000yen=$38.40 according to the Universal Currency converter, so
> >in effect you get the model at the Japanese RRP. The shop isn't losing any
> >money selling at this price, since this is the price that regular Japanese
> >stores sell at
> and
> >I think American Gundam fans (and anime fans) have been severely
> >ripped off by American import stores but that's capitalism for you. As long
> >as people are willing to pay the price, they are going to milk you for all
> >you got.
> Thanks for the field report from the alternate universe where shipping
> boxes all the way around the world costs absolutely nothing. <grin>
> -- Mark

I haven't forgotten about the shipping costs. : ) But remember an actual shop in
the US is selling kits at Japanese RRP and I doubt they are making a loss and
doing it as a service for Gundam fans(one can only hope). Like I mentioned
before, it is possible that the US stores are paying a high wholesale price to
begin with, and thus the high retail price. (Probably due to purchasing stock
from a US based wholesaler or a Japanese retailer). But if the store is
purchasing the stock directly from a Japanese wholesaler then a decent store will
be able to price the products at Japanese RRP despite shipping it half way
around the world. Even though consumers probably wouldn't mind paying a little
extra for 'shipping costs'.
eg US Gundam modeller's view

'this kit costs 4000 yen in Japan!'
'that's US $40'
'add shipping say $10'
'plus a little profit for the store owner, say $10'
'$60 for this MG kit ? '
'Right here in front of me and available now!'
'Not too bad!'

It seems though that a lot of stores are taking advantage of consumer 'sympathy?'
and charging a whole lot more.
eg US import store owners

'Japanese wholesale price + shipping = US$25'
'We will make $15 profit on each kit if we sell at Japanese RRP!'
'But wait a minute, those Gundam fans would shell out Japanese RRP + regular
shipping! to get their hands on this baby and would understand a little 'extra'
profit for the store !!!'
'That's great, we can charge $60 and make $35 profit !!'

It really is disheartening to know that someone is making a big profit at your

Also it's true that if regular cosumers were to import products independently,
the shipping costs take up a significant portion of the true landed cost.
However, with retailers the shipping cost is relatively small.

I am sure you have seen imported products in stores that costs much less than
what it would cost for you to ship the same products half way around the world
(I am talking about any imported product, not just Gundam related).

 I recently purchased a brand new home exercise machine from a local retailer for
US$25. This device weighs 12.5kg (slightly less than 25 pounds) in its shipping
box and is manufactured in Taiwan. The cheapest shipping cost I can find for
sending this product back to Taiwan is US$30 via surface mail US$55 via air
economy. I checked and discovered that if I was based in the US using the US
postal service it is US$39 by surface, or US$114 by air parcel.

How does a retailer sell a product at US$25 when the regular public has to pay at
least US$30 just for the shipping ? What about the manufacturing cost, the
wholesaler mark-up ? the retailer mark-up?

The retailer probably paid no more than $12 including shipping for this product.
Meaning, even if the bulk of the cost is for shipping they pay less than third
the cost of regular shipping and we are talking about something that weighs
12.5kg (25 pounds). Translate this to Gundam kits and the shipping costs become

I think with most comsumer products, the retailer effectively doubles his money
with a sale, but there are products such as clothes where the retailer mark up of
400-500% is not uncommon. But one thing is certain, it is always the retailer
that takes the biggest cut.


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