Airport Tax-Free Discounts are Disappointing
A new report published by online shopping comparison website Kelkoo has discovered that despite the public’s perception that airport stores are considerably cheaper than the high street, the amount saved is not as big as it could be and is in most cases bettered by shopping online. Consumers still believe that they are purchasing goods duty-free, which is free of both VAT and excise duty, in airport, but this was abolished by EU member states in 1999 and has been replaced with tax-free shopping for those travelling within the EU.
Departure lounge retailers, on average, save consumers 6.2% off the high street price for goods. However, they could be saving more by purchasing on the internet, up to a further 6% off the in-airport stores. With over £2.5 billion being spent in “tax-free” stores in airports last year, consumers could have saved a further £156 million off that total.
The mystery shopper exercise used 22 different products, ranging from health and beauty to electrical goods and confectionery, to compare the average high street RRP against 10 airports in Europe and the best price available online. People in the UK have a mix of the best and worst deals available, Heathrow Airport offered the worst value out of the airports tested with only an average discount of 3.1% possible. However, when it came to shopping online, Brits could look forwards to shaving 15.4% off the high street price.