Cross-border shopping can't be helping bricks-and-mortar stores. It's crazy that I could save £415 on a 5D III shipped from Hong Kong compared with the same thing from even the lowest priced online retailer in the UK.
The impact seems to be bigger for retailers in the UK than in the US because the price differentials appear to be much wider here. Contentions about local warranty and returns explain why buying from HK isn't necessarily a good idea but they don't explain why the differential is so big in the UK. I'm not clear whether the HK sellers are dodging VAT or whether Canon UK simply demands higher retail margins but whatever the reason for this disparity, something needs to be done to level the playing field for UK retailers.
I agree, I sent a letter to the CEO of Canon europe when the 5DIII was released and impossible to source for less than £3000 for body only. My query was why i could import one from the US and pay the VAT and still be 30% better off. His reply was quite an eye opener. He sited that the UK retailers were expected to sell at a discounted rate from the RRP, but nearly all of the UK sellers were selling at max RRP due to low supply. The base sale price to the vendors / shops was pretty much the same in the US and UK excluding the VAT element. The 5DIII really didn't shift many boxes in the first month, compared to the mkII and mkI. The uk sellers were making nearly £500 per unit and passing the cost blame onto Canon. Rip off Brittain! My second 5DIII was bought for £1850 last month from a shop in Jersey. Full UK warranty and manual. In less than one year that camera has dropped £1150, which points to excessive profiteering from the UK sellers.