If you’re heading off on a flight this summer you might want to save your spending money for when you get to your destination, as a new report has revealed duty free isn’t quite the bargain everyone is led to believe it is.
The research, carried out by Provident, analysed the cost of some of the most popular items at departure lounges around the globe including a bottle of Jack Daniels, a bottle of Paco Rabanne and everyone’s flight favourite, a Toblerone.
Comparing them to high street prices they found travellers were charged up to 320% more on some products at duty free. Ouch.
Duty free shopping at airports is big business, with flyers expected to splurge a huge $125,000,000,000 USD in tax-free stores around the globe by 2025, with the expectation that the loss of VAT is helping them save.
But perhaps we’d be a little more conservative with our pre-holiday blowouts if we knew we’d be getting a much better deal when we got home.
For example, a Toblerone (which has for some bizarre reason become totally synonymous with airline travel) can cost as much as £12.60 per bar (at Singapore airport). On the high street you can buy a 360g bar for as little as £3.
The same goes for Jack Daniels: a bottle of the popular whisky brand costs £30.29 at Luton Airport, whereas you can find it for only £23.75 in a regular shop like Tesco’s, making the purchase 28% more expensive.
And it isn’t just Luton airport making a quick buck, over 50% of the duty free stores around the world were found to charge more than the high street.
And if you think that your cosmetics and perfumes are exempt from the price hikes, then think again: the analysis shows a 50ml bottle of Paco Rabanne perfume is 4% more expensive in Barcelona airport than on the high street.
However in other airports, such as Auckland, the same bottle was as much as 57% less than on the high street.
This isn’t the first time the prices of duty free have been thrown into the spotlight: in April last year, Which? Travel found a 70cl bottle of Tanqueray gin cost £18 at Heathrow Terminal 2 but could be bought for £15 at Morrisons.
The researchers also highlighted that shoppers could save £21 buying a 100ml bottle of Eternity for Men Eau de Toilette on Amazon for £25 rather than at Birmingham airport for £46.
And Which? said it was “stunned” to find the SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB camera memory card selling for £73 more at Glasgow International’s Dixons Travel than at Currys online.
They urged shoppers to “always do your research before you head to the airport to make sure the ‘deal’ is not actually dearer than you find on the high street or online”.