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Online shopping better value than duty free airport shops

20 August 2010 - 13:16 by Simon Crisp

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The latest figures show that people who spend money online are likely to make significantly greater savings than their peers who choose products which come with tax or duty breaks at the various international travel hubs.

Kelkoo has released the results of a survey which suggests that many UK consumers believe they can save a fifth on the price of a product if they buy it in an airport rather than picking it up on their local high street. The reality is that duty free airport shopping can only provide a 6.2 per cent average saving, which does not match up to expectations.

UK consumers spent £2.5 billion in airports over the last 12 months, but with online shopping offering an average 12.3 per cent saving over high street prices, it is clear that you do not need to leave the comfort of your home, let alone travel the world, in order to find a bargain. If these consumers had focused upon safe shopping online, they would have saved an extra £156 million.

The survey was based on a comprehensive and broad-ranging experiment which collated the values of 22 items from varying categories in airports, on the high street and online. The removal of value added tax (VAT) is only applicable to travellers who are moving within the EU, which includes millions of British holiday makers each year.

Kelkoo's Bruce Fair explained that the consumer was more open to airport retail when travelling because of the long periods of waiting and the holiday spending money that they would inevitably be carrying. However, Mr Fair warned this captive audience that savings between the high street and tax free airport prices could not compete with those offered by safe shopping online.

The poorest savings over high street prices in the EU can be found at London Heathrow in the UK and Berlin airport in Germany, according to the report.