Duty-free shopping loses its sparkle

Holidaymakers looking to grab a duty-free bargain might be better off shopping online or even on the high street, according to new research.

New figures suggest that it could be cheaper for shoppers to buy goods such as sunglasses and champagne online or on the high street, as tax-free airport products are not necessarily cheaper. Shoppers might be keen to spend the rest of their foreign holiday change, but they have been warned to avoid impulse buys and do research before parting with their money.

Research from The Times looked at a selection of popular items from a number of airports worldwide and onboard ferry duty-free shops and compared prices to online retailers or high street stores. Popular high-end sunglasses brand Ray-Ban Wayfarer were nearly £85 cheaper when purchased online for £62.92 plus the delivery of £6.94, compared to the Dubai airport departure lounge of £154.08.

The research also found that a 75cl bottle of Veuve Clicquot yellow label Brut is cheaper on the high street. Savvy shoppers can pick up a bottle for £23 at House of Fraser compared to £33.63 at Barcelona or Madrid airports. The price of popular items varied significantly between duty-free locations and exchange rates. Perfume, for example, was cheaper when purchased at duty-free.

A 50 ml bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum was almost £10 cheaper at an airport or onboard a ferry compared to online prices. The luxury perfume cost £51.35 at Heathrow airport and £52 onboard a P&O Ferry, while the best online price was £56 with a delivery fees of £3.75.

Shoppers were, however, warned about buying designer goods online as there are a number of fakes and scams circulating the internet. Holidaymakers can also benefit from a travel insurance bargain by shopping around for comprehensive cover online.

Date Created: 08 August 2012

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