Figures: Importing vs. Buying Localy in Brazil

27 01 2009

Brazilian figure fans probably made themselves this question: To buy figures in Brazil (at Liberdade district mainly) or to buy them in international online stores?

Nendoroid Saber Lion / Nendoroid Melissa Seraphy

Nendoroid Saber Lion / Nendoroid Melissa Seraphy

With that question in mind, I decided to conduct an experience. In this post, I’ll show the results of this experience.
For those living in Brazil that are interested in buying something other than figures in international onlines stores, this topic might be worthy the read… since most products follows the same rules.

To make a clear comparison, early this year (January 3rd, 2009), I bought Nendoroid Melissa Seraphy in one of the stores on Soho Shopping, at Liberdade district (São Paulo). Payed R$190,00.

Fairly expensive, comparing prices from July 2008 for instance, since store owners decided to remark the products prices with updated currency exchange rates.
Something I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the fact that I had already seen the same figure in display on the same store long time ago.

BUT, proceeding…

Nendoroid Saber Lion

Nendoroid Saber Lion

At the end of September 2008, I bought Nendoroid Saber Lion on pre-order, from Hobby Search website (online store localized in Tokyo).
Set to release in late December, which really happened (last days of December).

They shipped it in January 7th (dunno the reason for the delay).
Got it at the main post office, here in Curitiba (city where I live) in January 14th.
Must add that during the shipping process, the figure could have been uphelp up to 3 days for customs checking.

I got the shipping data from EMS website, which is the shipping company, with a registry number supplied by Hobby Search.

Nendoroid Saber Lion

Nendoroid Saber Lion

Packaging arrived in good shape.
A standard mail package stuffed with some extra layers of paper to protect the box.
But I can’t say for shure if the shape I got the package was the same it was shipped in Japan, since braziliam customs open the boxes to check the content.

Nendoroid Saber Lion

Nendoroid Saber Lion

But let’s go to what matters most: The (approximate) numbers.

Once again, Brazilian physical store get:
Nendoroid Melissa Seraphy – R$190,00
Note that this figure, if bought at the online store, would be a little bit more expensive than Nendoroid Saber Lion.

International Online Store get:
Nendoroid Saber Lion – 2,715 yen –> 30 USD –> R$70,00
Shipping (EMS) – 2,780 yen –> 30 USD –> R$70,00
Import Tax – 60% product value + shipping –> R$84,00
Total – R$224,00


  • Brazilian government steal from it’s people.
    But this, every brazilian already knows… import tax in Brazil is one of the most expensives in the world.
    Notice the import tax value is superior to the value of the product itself.
    Apart from books and some few items, EVERY PRODUCT bought internationally has the same taxes applied: 60% of the value of the product plus shipping.
    Unless product + shipping is less than 50 USDs, which is kinda hard since shipping alone is very expensive.
    And in this specific case, I selected the most cheap shipping method available.
    Our government says the taxes are to protect the local market, but almost everything people buy outside Brazil has no equal product locally.
    Besides, these taxes damages several other sectors… like technological research, industry modernization, and common citizen access to products from other countries.
    The abusive taxes are also one of the big reasons for: piracy, smuggling, international enterprises refusing to stabilish local factories in Brazil (like Sony and Nintendo), among others.
  • If you find it in Brazil, buy it.
    You’ll pay less than buying online, unless you have some luck and customs don’t check it.
    But don’t rely on that… years ago, it happened more frequently… but nowadays, almost everything gets through customs.
    Particularly, I already made 6 purchases on online stores of products that could be taxed… and from the 6, all were taxed.
    There’s also the time it takes to be delivered, and the fact that at a physical store, you can check the product up close.
  • If you can’t find it in Brazil, maybe it’s worth ordering online.
    The difference in price is considerable, but for those searching for something specific (and those who really wants it), it isn’t worth relying on brazilian stores.
    Which is my case. Despite paying a high price, I believe it was worth.
    You never know when local stores will get the figure you want (if ever)… at most, you’ll get “I promise I’ll try to find it for you”, and you don’t know when.
    And you know how figures work.. it’s quite common that the popular ones gets out of stock very quickly.
    Considering all these, the online store was also quick and the product arrived in good shape.
  • Figure sellers in Brazil profit from it.
    At least for each figure sold, since few people actually buys them here.
    As far as I know, folks who sells figures in Brazil makes use of constant trips to Japan (from relatives or themselves) to pack their bags with figures and bring them back to Brazil.
    In these conditions, they don’t pay abusive taxes, since Airport Customs are not as tight as Customs for shipped products, and tributation for people who are taking flights is different.
    BUT, we can’t take this badly.
    First, because there are too few people who buy figures. Second, because a trip to Japan is a trip to Japan (if it was an easy thing to do, everybody was doing it), and third because they are the few ones who are risking a new business in Brazil. If it wasn’t for them, we the fans would be completely lost.
  • Nendoroid Saber Lion

    Nendoroid Saber Lion

    Anyways, I wrote a little too much… but since I never saw any articles about this specific subject, I decided to write everything I had to.

    For those still in doubt on how importing taxes work, check the official brazilian customs page for more information (in portuguese).



    Uma resposta

    26 09 2014
    revit 2014

    revit 2014

    Figures: Importing vs. Buying Localy in Brazil | XSp.

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