US most affordable Christmas shopping destination

Sterling may have fallen marginally in value against the US dollar compared with a year ago but Christmas shoppers can still make hundreds of pounds of savings on gift items by heading across the Atlantic to buy presents.

According to the annual Christmas Shopping Guide from Post Office Travel Money, prices are up to 63 percent lower in the US than in London, despite the weaker pound.

From a price comparison of over 100 items in New York and London, Post Office Travel Money found the biggest bargains in the Big Apple on jeans and US designer label clothes. The report reveals savings of a third or more for three in 10 of the items surveyed but eagle-eyed shoppers will find the richest pickings at top youth brands Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch (A&F), where several items are over 50 per cent cheaper than in London. The top saving of 63 per cent is on a Hollister hoodie, costing £45 in London but less than £17 in New York.

That will come as good news to many people because US tourism figures have revealed that shopping is the favourite holiday pastime for almost nine-in-10 (88 per cent) of UK visitors to the USA, while 28 per cent of those holidaymakers visited New York.  Now it looks as though more will be doing so in the coming months because the latest quarterly Holiday Confidence Index survey of UK holidaymakers reports that one-in-10 are planning transatlantic trips.

Aside from Hollister and A&F, many other US fashion labels including J Crew, Michael Kors, Citizens of Humanity, Converse and Polo Ralph Lauren are priced at 27-37 per cent below London levels – even after sales tax of 8.875 per cent has been added to the price.

Post Office Travel Money 20 New York shopping bargains:

Item London New York Saving
Hollister Colorblock logo men’s hoodie £45.00 £16.82 63%
Abercrombie & Fitch Drapey Chambray women’s shirt £58.00 £26.24 55%
Abercrombie & Fitch All-Season Weather Warrior men’s jacket £160.00 £82.06 49%
Minions Tumbling Talking Stuart toy £49.99 £25.64 49%
Pie Face! Game £19.99 £10.98 45%
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream skin protectant 50ml £26.00 £15.39 41%
Little Live Pets Clever Keet toy £59.99 £35.89 40%
LEGO Star Wars Jedi Scout Fighter £59.99 £36.63 39%
Levi’s 501 Original Fit men’s jeans (stonewash) £75.00 £45.76 39%
Citizens of Humanity Rocket Skinny high-rise women’s jeans (axel) £210.00 £130.42 38%
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High-Top Sneakers £65.00 £40.38 38%
J Crew Slim vintage Oxford men’s shirt (tonal cotton) £72.50 £46.77 35%
Clinique All About Shadows Duo £22.00 £15.02 32%
UGG Mini Bailey Button boots £145.00 £98.91 32%
7 For All Mankind The Skinny mid-rise women’s jeans £165.00 £115.76 30%
Michael Kors Parker Rose Chronograph Glitz Watch £279.00 £201.48 28%
Amazon Fire Kids Edition 7” tablet (8GB) £99.95 £73.26 27%
Victoria’s Secret So Obsessed push-up bra £48.00 £35.33 26%
Kate Spade New York Magnolia Bakery Tally Clutch £228.00 £181.70 20%
Apple Watch Sport £299.00 £255.70 14%

Some of the biggest transatlantic bargains are on toys.  Depending what fits into the suitcase, parents can shave 40 per cent or more off some of the toys expected to be kids’ favourites for Christmas, including ones featuring in this year’s DreamToys from the Toy Retailers Association.  One of these, Pie Face! (£10.98 in New York), slices £9 – 45 per cent – off the London price while Little Live Pets Clever Keet toy (£35.89) is over £24 or 40 per cent cheaper.   Another toy tipped for Christmas success, Minions Tumbling Talking Stuart toy, is 49 per cent cheaper in New York – £25.64 compared with £49.99.

And, with Star Wars opening in cinemas next month, demand will be high for spin-off merchandise.  The Post Office found the best bargain of many Star Wars toys available is on Lego’s Jedi Scout Fighter: 39 per cent cheaper in New York (£36.63) than in London (£59.99).

Superdry and Karen Millen lead the list of British brands that were found to cost far more in New York.  Superdry’s Hooded Windtrekker weighs in at 47 per cent more (£80 in London, £117 in New York) while a Karen Millen Red Ruffled Lace Dress (£292) costs almost £100 more than the £199 price tag in London.  Other brands that are more expensive Stateside include Ted Baker, All Saints, Diesel and Burberry.

Post Office Travel Money also urges caution when buying perfumes, cosmetics and skincare.  Although there are big savings to be made on Elizabeth Arden skincare at 41 per cent below London store prices and Clinique cosmetics, where there are savings of over 30 per cent, most brands cost more in New York.  Best avoided are perfumes by Calvin Klein (Europhia, 26 per cent more expensive in New York) and Chloe (15 per cent cheaper in London).

More reliable savings can be made on the latest gadgets. At £256, the Apple Watch Sport is 14 per cent cheaper in New York than in London (£299); while the biggest bargain found by the Post Office was for an Amazon Fire Kids’ Edition Tablet, 27 per cent cheaper in New York (£73) than in London (£99.95).

Away from New York, there are even bigger bargains to be struck on some clothing and footwear items in Boston, because of lower sales tax and higher tax exemption rates, and in Philadelphia there is no sales tax to pay at all on clothes and footwear.

Post Office Travel Money comparison of costs for eight Christmas Shopping Guide items in New York, London, Dubai, Barcelona and Paris:

Item New York London Dubai Barcelona Paris
7 For All Mankind The Skinny mid-rise  jeans £115.76 £165.00 £146.70 £160.23 £156.59
UGG Classic Short boots £113.56 £155.00 £114.84 £144.94 £145.67
Levi’s 501 Original Fit Jeans (stonewash) £45.76 £75.00 £65.46 £72.10 £72.10
Converse All Star High-Top Sneaker £40.38 £65.00 £55.33 £50.95 £50.98
Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Stretch Mesh Polo £60.23 £85.00 £66.31 £69.19 £64.82
Clinique Long Last lipstick £12.46 £18.00 £12.60 £17.12 £17.12
Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette 100ml £70.34 £76.00 £71.08 £65.55 £66.28
Apple Watch Sport £255.70 £299.00 £262.39 £305.17 £290.60
TOTAL £714.19 £938.00 £794.71 £885.25 £864.16
% more than New York   +31% +11% +24% +21%


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