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Duty-free - Why So Popular In Europe and Asia?  
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 20
Posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5149 times:

Having done a significant amount of traveling in Europe, I am often surprised at how many people flock to the duty-free shops and take advantage of the duty-free options on international flights. In my experience, Americans don't patronize these stores and magazines near as much as Europeans (I've heard Asian passengers are also big customers of duty-free items). Why is this? I know taxes are higher in Europe, and I haven't paid much attention, but I haven't really noticed drastic differences in prices from duty-free shops to other shops in Europe.

In fact, the deals at the duty-free shops at LGW in December seemed like a rip-off -- but that was primarily due to the deteriorating dollar-pound exchange rate.

Am I just missing the price difference? Or is there something exciting about buying duty-free items?


"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJmy007 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 598 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5112 times:

I have found Duty Free alcohol in place such as Australia and New Zealand to be very a good price, with the exchange rate.
For a US traveler in England, it's a rip off.



Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5111 times:

Duty free stores in Europe and Asia are not patronized by Americans, for the simple fact that retail prices in USA are often LOWER than the prices of items bought in duty free.
xxx
I recall people visiting me from Europe when I lived in USA, where they got me a bottle of liquor, that they would have paid 10 to 25% less in a retail store in USA.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper


User currently offlineNickofatlanta From Australia, joined May 2000, 1488 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5097 times:

Taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and, indeed, items in general are a lot higher in Europe than in the US. In the UK, VAT (Value Added Tax) - the equivalent of the US tax is 17.5%. So, there is a 17.5% savings right there on many goods at duty-free. Alcohol and tobacco taxes are almost definitely even more!

User currently offlineHeyMach From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2003, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5068 times:

Duty free has been abolished within the EU. That is to say that duty free is not available to passengers traveling within EU. Accordingly, the airport operators have been noticing a decline in sales to people traveling within the EU. However, on flights to destinations outside the EU duty free can be quite a bargain. Here in the UK, for example, about 45% of the price of a bottle of spirits is made up of excise duty and tax. Similarly tax on cigarettes make up over 65% of the price of a pack of twenty.

The other reason for the rush at the duty free shops may be the fact that, as you were traveling through LGW during December, people were doing their last minute Christmas shopping.


User currently onlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17040 posts, RR: 66
Reply 5, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5041 times:

1. The US is only one country on all that territory, so duty-free is not really an option. In Europe, you fly over another country before you can say "Absolut Vodka on the rocks".

2. Alcohol taxes tend to be much higher.

3. After 30-40 years of tax free, it has become so "traditional" to buy tax-free that even with the demise of tax free in the EU, people still tend to buy a lot of wine, spirits and cigarettes at airports/on aircraft. Airlines and airports take advantage of this and sell you the stuff at good prices. It's excellent biz! When tax-free was going to be abolished in the EU, the Swedish PM even commented that he was against removing it because "It's a nice part of travel to hear the clinking of the bottles." Proof positive that it's grown from a rational to an emotional thing.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineBA1978 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5029 times:

Well let see the other day I flew outside of the EU, therefore I could enjoy duty free prices. I bought two litres of vodka for £15, usually you'd pay about £30 in the shops. I also bought my friend 400 cigarettes for £35, usually that would set you back about £100. So in total I bought £130 worth of goods for £50, saving £80 tax. There's your answer


There are other ways and there's British Airways
User currently offlineFlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2090 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4993 times:

With you BA1978. Bought a litre of Blue Lable Smirnoff Vodka Duty Free at EWR a couple of weeks ago for $10 (Roughly £5.50). 70cl would set me back about £15 in a Supermarket here, a litre a lot more!

Also, guess it became traditional when we all went to costas each Summer and despite the EU ending Duty Free within the EU the habit stuck.  Wink/being sarcastic

Or maybe we're just all alcoholics! Big grin

[Edited 2004-03-04 20:36:40]


Let's Go British Caledonian!
User currently offlineSolnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 852 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4970 times:

In Sweden U have to pay over 50 % in taxes!!! (Fifty per cent)
No wonder tax-free is popular among swedes and alcohol is VERY
numero UNO  Smile/happy/getting dizzy so we visit Denmark Germany Finland cuz they got
50-75% lower alcoholprice than here....

Hejdå & Skål  Big thumbs up

Michael//SE



Airbus SAS - Love them both
User currently offlineBA757 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2832 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4946 times:

FlyCaledonian,
Which terminal were you in at EWR?

When I was there (I can't remember the terminal off hand - I flew KLM) I just couldn't find the duty free - is it airside at EWR??

I remember there been shops landside but I was in a rush and expected the duty free to be airside and went through security to be very disappointed.

Also, whats the duty free like at JFK? Must get some on my return to NYC in April - lovely city.

Adam


User currently offlineFlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2090 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4930 times:

BA757 flew from Terminal C with Continental. As you come through security after check-in and step into the Triangular pier that most International flights use the Duty Free is on your right-hand side. Could miss it if you're in a hurry.

Tip: Cigarettes were cheaper on CO than at the shop.



Let's Go British Caledonian!
User currently offlineBA757 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2832 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4917 times:

FlyCaledonian - cheers. It would appear I was in a different terminal to you, Terminal B according to the site I have just looked at - which seemed to be dominated by Northwest. I am pretty sure there was no duty free airside in Terminal B  Sad.

I am flying BA this time to JFK, so I doubt the cigs and booze will be much cheaper on the flight.

Thanks anyway!

Adam


User currently offlineDemoose From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 1952 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4886 times:

I was at EWR terminal B last week and I too didn't notice much Duty Free at all, maybe because I wasn't looking to buy anything, but never the less I was suprised to see none past security. I don't know how it works there, isn't there some sort of Duty Free collection service airside?

Mark



Take a ride...fly across the sky
User currently offlineFlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2090 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4863 times:

In Terminal C once you'd paid for your Duty Free you picked it up on the airbridge once you'd started boarding the flight. I did notice it was largely Brits who were purchasing the booze and fags, or so it seemed. Big grin


Let's Go British Caledonian!
User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4850 times:

Speaking of duty frees,

Did you know there are a few tourist targeted unspoiled tropical resort islands in Malaysia where everything is tax free? I think cigarettes and alcohol there are among the cheapest in the world haha.. No matter who you are, as long as you go there you can enjoy it. yes it is true, it is not in the airport only, also in dedicated duty free stores for immediate pick up and consumption locally.

I can name you Langkawi, Tioman and Labuan islands.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4847 times:

With you BA1978. Bought a litre of Blue Lable Smirnoff Vodka Duty Free at EWR a couple of weeks ago for $10 (Roughly £5.50). 70cl would set me back about £15 in a Supermarket here, a litre a lot more!

Well let see the other day I flew outside of the EU, therefore I could enjoy duty free prices. I bought two litres of vodka for £15, usually you'd pay about £30 in the shops.

I guess I never noticed those high prices when I lived in London! I was too busy drinking beer at the pubs to patronize the liquor shops.



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineBA1978 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4681 times:

Or maybe we're just all alcoholics!

FlyCaledonian, I think you're probably right, I bought the vodka last friday and it was all gone by Sunday. Embarrassment. Well it was either drink that or pay Norwegian prices when I went out!



There are other ways and there's British Airways
User currently offlineCodeshare From Poland, joined Sep 2002, 1854 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4675 times:

Taxes, duties, VAT. Need I say more?

For example a 1/2 litre bottle of vodka costs around 25 PLN in a normal shop in Poland and 10 PLN in Duty Free shops.
1 USD = 3.9 PLN so the equation is simple.
Same thing with perfumes.



How much A is there is Airliners Net ? 0 or nothing ?
User currently offlineAirtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1558 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4663 times:

I always buy cigarettes for my friends, prices are a lot cheaper so I can get extra money doing that  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Sometimes I also buy a bottle of perfume, not really for the price but each time I use it, it reminds me of my trip... call me stupid if you want, lol !

Jef



Life is short : eat dessert first !
User currently offlineStefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4622 times:

Ssides, everybody tries to make a bargain - so when I get same product cheaper in Shop A than in Shop B I buy in Shop A.

If I dont have to pay taxes for alcohol and get it cheaper in Duty Free, I buy in Duty Free.
When you are on a ferry from Sweden to Finland, Duty Free sale for alcohol is very expensive (for Germans f.e.) but it's still much cheaper than in Sweden or Finland.

In 2 weeks I will fly from Germany to Ireland and will bring cigarettes to a friend - not Duty Free cause both countries are Schengen-Countries. But cigarettes there are much more expensive than in Germany. Shop A vs. Shop B. Very simple.


User currently offlineMIA From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 873 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (10 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 4604 times:

I have also noticed that Duty Free is extremely popular in Latin America. I know in Venezuela duty free shopping is popular for perfumes and imported good. My mom used to be Jean Paul Guittierre (I hope I spelled that right) for like 10 dollars cheaper than in the states. I know that sometimes in the Aldeasa stores you can get bargains on some goods. Personally, I think its just a sham. Id rather buy my goods and pay my respectfully duties.


"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
User currently offlineGardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1522 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4518 times:

I cant say I have noticed it being poular on any of my non-EU-EU flights, in fact most times on board the cart just whizzes past and no one stops it.
However what I noticed when I flew to Rekyjavik on FI a few years back, the whole plan was full of Icelandic people returining home, and EVERYONE of them bought something. It took ages! I remember the cart being in the aisle for a very long time.

But as someone else pointed out, it has become an emotional thing to do, more than an economical one. After all, when one starts a plane journey it is part of a holiday, and we all love some pre-flight shopping and goodies to buy to put us in even better spirits.


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