Buy before you fly: Brits at risk of duty-free rip-offs

Duty Free store at Heathrow's Terminal 1. Photo: Tim Ockenden/PA
Duty Free store at Heathrow's Terminal 1. Photo: Tim Ockenden/PA

The tradition of finding a duty-free bargain at the airport might now be a thing of the past.

With holiday bookings up 15% year-on-year for August, many Brits may be inclined to do last-minute shopping at the airport. However, analysis of the four main UK airports by price comparison site PriceSpy shows online shopping savings have overtaken the airport lounge.

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Of 45 products analysed, the survey found all of them cheaper online when compared to the prices at Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and Bristol airports.

Not only are savings on retail price minimal but shoppers could save significantly more by buying online.

Biggest price differences between airport and online shopping. Source: PriceSpy
Biggest price differences between airport and online shopping. Source: PriceSpy

For example, popular headphones Beats by Dr Dre Solo3 would set the average airport shopper back £190 ($230) but online shoppers could pay as little as £140.

Meanwhile, anybody after an iPad Pro 11 Inch at the departure lounge would pay £839 at Heathrow, Stansted, and Manchester airports – the same price as retail – but going online could save consumers £65.

While a Samsung Galaxy Watch 46mm will cost about £289 at duty free, shoppers could save £55 by buying it online.

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And a JBL Flip 4 bluetooth speaker is almost a quarter (23%) cheaper online than it is in airport shops.

Popular perfumes such as Giorgio Armani’s Si for women and Calvin Klein’s Eternity for men – frequent airport treats – costs an extra £27 compared to shopping online.

However, airport shoppers can pick up a bottle of Paco Rabanne Lady Million £13 cheaper than in a store. The same bottle can only be found £9 cheaper online.

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