2022-06-08 15:04Press release

Online shopping cheaper than duty free shops

·   New research from impartial price and product comparison service, PriceSpy, shows that 74% of items are cheaper online than in airport duty free shops

·   On average, you can save £7.10 (14%) by shopping online over duty free 

·   The top category to save money is sunglasses - on average saving 20% 

24th May 2022 With travel companies reporting a surge in holiday bookings abroad for 2022, many Brits will be making their way through the airports, and airport shopping, once again. As prices on all goods rise due to UK inflation, some may be thinking that duty free is a sure bet to get the best price. However, new research shows that shopping online is far cheaper than buying the same products duty free. 

Trying to bag bargains at airports ahead of jetting off is leaving UK travellers out of pocket to the tune of 14%. This is according to new research from impartial price and product comparison service, PriceSpy, which reveals 74% of items are in fact cheaper online. 

The research reviewed 324 products in duty free stores across three UK airports and seven product categories. PriceSpy then compared the average price of each item to the cheapest price listed on its website that compares prices from thousands of UK shops. The airports surveyed were Manchester, Birmingham and London Heathrow.*

The categories reviewed included perfume, make-up, sunglasses, toiletries, watches, skincare, and electronics. On average, the data showed people could save 14% by shopping online for these items compared with buying duty free.

Interestingly, sunglasses were the top category to save money, with average savings topping 20%. For example, Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviators are £121.65 duty free and £75.50 online which saves 37.9% on the duty free price. A close second was toiletries where you could save 18% by shopping online over duty free. One example here was the Hugo Boss Bottled Deodorant Stick 75ml, which would set you back £18.50 duty free, but online, you could find this product 40% cheaper at £10.95.

The category where savings were slightest was watches with an average saving of 4%. However, with the pricey designer watches, you find duty free, that 4% can make a significant difference compared to items typically costing less. The biggest saving in the study was on the Diesel Mr Daddy 2.0 DZ7312, which averages £275.75 duty free, but is a whopping £146.87 cheaper through PriceSpy.

As is shown in the data, 26% of items studied were the same price or cheaper duty free. By checking online first, those who shop duty free can make sure they always get the right price.

The table below shows the savings in each category


Average price duty free in £

Average price on PriceSpy in £

Average saving in £

Average % of savings


































(data conducted by PriceSpy and results found on the PriceSpy website that lists more than six thousand shops and duty free websites for London Heathrow, Manchester, and Birmingham airports)

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, country manager UK at PriceSpy says, “There has long been a myth that when travelling abroad, duty free can offer the best price on luxury items. Whilst many are becoming aware that this is not the case, it is interesting to see proof that duty free doesn’t necessarily offer the best prices. 

“Our research highlights people really need to do their price due diligence, to make sure this is actually the case. We at PriceSpy urge those going away to think about what they need to avoid any last-minute purchases at the airport. It’s been a tough few years and we’re so glad that people can go away once more, but by being savvy with your money you can make your holiday extra special with a little extra spending.”


The research

The research was conducted on 9th and 16th May 2022 where 108 items were compared across Heathrow airport duty free, Manchester airport duty free and Birmingham airport duty free. This totalled in 324 items being compared. The average price was calculated for each item which was then compared with the cheapest price found on PriceSpy. The cheapest price on PriceSpy was subtracted from the average price on duty free to calculate the saving, both in £ and in a percentage. 

The savings were then totalled up to reveal the average savings overall and across each product section. The data is released on 24th May 2022.

About PriceSpy    

PriceSpy is a comprehensive price and product comparison service used by millions of consumers every month. It helps consumers find, discover, research and compare products.    

PriceSpy compares 5,520,000 indexed prices, 829,000 products from 6 100 shops, along with hundreds of thousands of product and shop ratings. Providing an impartial comparison service for consumers and a deep depository of price data for retailers.    

PriceSpy was  launched in the year 2002 and is Sweden's largest price comparison service. The service is known in Sweden and Norway as Prisjakt, and in the UK and New Zealand as PriceSpy. The PriceSpy app is available to download for free, via the App Store and Google Play.


About PriceSpy

PriceSpy is a comprehensive price and product comparison service used by millions of consumers every month. It helps consumers find, discover, research and compare products.  Since the business first started in 2002, its main objective has been to help consumers make better purchasing decisions. PriceSpy does this by collecting and sharing honest, transparent information about retail shops, products and prices. PriceSpy has well over 700 000 indexed products, sold by more than six thousand shops. PriceSpy is part of Schibsted and is located in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, France and the United Kingdom. The PriceSpy app is available to download for free, via the App Store and Google Play.


Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett
Country Manager - PriceSpy
Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett