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Are Luxury Brands Cheaper in Paris? Here’s What You Need To Know


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Many of our favorite luxury brands have their origins in France – so does this mean that luxury brands are cheaper in Paris? We’ve got an answer to that question.

Paris, as one of the fashion capitals of the world, is the home of countless top fashion houses, including Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, and Dior, and is a place you have to visit if you love luxury fashion.

But should we be buying our luxury goods when we are in Paris? Are luxury goods more expensive in the United States or the United Kingdom? Keep reading to find out answers to all these questions!

Are Luxury Brands Cheaper in Paris?

The answer to this is a definite yes! For many luxury brands, their prices are cheaper in Paris than they are in the USA or the UK – this is particularly true for French or Italian brands.

However, American brands, such as Coach and Tory Burch, or British brands, such as Burberry or Alexander McQueen are usually not cheaper in Europe – we will obtain into why this is the case shortly.

Why are Many Luxury Brands cheaper in Paris?

There are a couple of main reasons why luxury brands are available at cheaper prices in Paris, other French cities, and even other European countries.

1. No Import Taxes

Firstly, as already hinted at, Italian and French brands are cheaper in Paris because they do not have to be exported to another country.

Are luxury brands like Louis Vuitton cheaper in Paris and Europe? Yes!

Many French luxury fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton or Dior, hold their stock in France, meaning if you buy a luxury item from one of the French fashion houses, you are not paying the extra for it to be shipped to America or the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, when an item is imported to the US or UK, there will also be import tax and duties on the product, which pushes the price tag up even more.

2. VAT Refunds

The second reason why prices are usually cheaper in the EU and France is the VAT tax refund system that is established in countries of the European Union.

In short, you will be refunded the VAT on products over a certain amount, which in the end makes the product cheaper again. This will be explained in more detail further below.

3. Mandatory Sales

Finally, there is a law in France that states that brands have to have annual sales twice a year, the same time each year, and this is the only time that these brands are able to put their products on sale.

The summer sales begin on the last Wednesday of June, while the winter sales commence on the second Wednesday in January – we would definitely recommend planning your luxury shopping trips and visits to your favorite boutiques around these dates because you are bound to obtain a great deal!

However, it is worth noting that some brands have specific products that they do not conclude in the sale, for example, in the sale of Louis Vuitton handbags, you will not find the Neverfull because this is an item LV never reduces the price of.

What is the VAT refund?

European countries (like some other countries in the world) use a system in which, when spending over a certain amount of money, foreign shoppers can receive a VAT refund.

VAT stands for Value Added Tax, and it is automatically included in the final price of Trendy consumer goods. However, if you are a foreign buyer, you do not need to pay it.

There are certain rules to this system and certain things you need to remember to do so you receive this refund.

First of all, to qualify for this refund, you need to be:

  • Older than 16 years ancient
  • A non-EU citizen (British citizens are now applicable for this VAT refund as the UK is no longer part of the EU)
  • You cannot be in France for longer than six months
  • You need to spend more than €100.01 in a single store, in a single day

The refund system is therefore great for if you are on holiday in Paris and looking to pick up a modern designer handbag!

It is worth noting that this system is not available just in France, but available in all EU countries – great news! However, the UK government has recently removed the VAT refund system in the UK, so this does not apply if you are buying any luxury goods in London.

How To Claim Your Refund

Most of the time, sales assistants will automatically fill in the paperwork for your refund, but make sure to double-check so you don’t miss out!

You can receive this VAT sales tax back immediately in cash – you will receive 10.8% of your purchase back if you abandon the EU within 21 days. Or you can wait a small bit longer and receive the refund via your credit card, this may take up to three months but you will obtain 12% of your purchase back.

It’s very important you remember to drop your tax refund paperwork off at the airport. At Paris – Orly or Paris – Charles de Gaulle airport, locate the tax refund desk, scan the document, and pop it into a mailbox, which is located in the terminals at both of these airports.

What About American & British Brands?

If you are buying something from an American designer brand, such as Tom Ford or Coach, the price of the products will not be cheaper in Paris. The same goes for the UK: British brands will typically be lower in price in London as the goods are not being exported to a different country

With this said, if you are visiting from abroad, you can still take advantage of the VAT refund scheme and the annual sales.

Are Prices Cheaper For EU Citizens?

If you are looking to visit Paris from another country in the European Union, the price of the luxury goods is almost definitely going to be the same, unless you’re coming from a country that doesn’t use the Euro.

The main reason for this is that EU countries do not pose import taxes on one another as they are part of the same trading area (called the European Economic Area). Plus, if you’re coming from a country that uses the euro, normally retailers will use the same pricing in all of the countries under one currency.

Furthermore, you won’t be eligible for the VAT refund, as you are an EU citizen and thus part of the same common trading area. However, you can still take advantage of the sales, if you happen to visit during this time.

Your Potential Savings

Here’s an example of how much money you could save if you bought a Louis Vuitton handbag in Paris.

If you are going to buy a Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM bag in New York it will cost you $2,030, with an added $162.40 in tax, reaching a total of $2,192.40

If you are buying this same bag in the UK, it will cost you £1,410

If you buy the LV Neverfull in Paris, it would cost you €1,500.

If you were to select the 12% VAT refund that goes straight to your credit card, you would be refunded €180 (this is $198.37 at current exchange rates!)

This means, with the refund, the bag would cost €1,320 or £1,105.39 in the UK or $1,455.76 in the US. However, before getting too excited, make sure that you calculate the amount of tax you will need to pay at customs.

In Trendy cases, your personal exemption will be $800 in the US, after which you’ll be taxed a flat rate of 3%. In our example, your total comes up to just $1,475 – that’s a saving of $717 compared to NYC!

As for shoppers from the UK, your personal exemption is £390, after which 2.5% duty is imposed (but this may vary depending on the product you buy, as stated by gov.uk). Given these figures, your LV purchase will arrive to a total of roughly £1,123, saving you £287!

Commonly Asked Questions

Is Louis Vuitton cheaper in Paris?

As a French brand, Louis Vuitton is cheaper in Paris than it is in the UK or US. The combination of no importation tax or transportation costs, as well as the VAT refund system means you will obtain a better deal in Paris.

Is YSL cheaper in Paris?

Yves Saint Laurent is also a French fashion house, meaning there is no extra taxes or transportation costs when buying anything from YSL in Paris. Plus, you can obtain that tax refund too!

Is Cartier cheaper in Paris?

As one of the oldest jewelry brands in Paris, Cartier’s headquarters are in Paris too. This means if you were to buy any Cartier jewelry in the US or UK, it would have to be shipped over and therefore incur import tax and transportation fees, causing the price to increase. This means the lowest price for Cartier jewelry is in France and other European countries.

Is Chanel cheaper in Paris?

As another French brand, Chanel is cheaper in Paris – this is due to the lack of extra transportation as well as the VAT refund you would be entitled to receive as a non-Eu resident.

Is Gucci cheaper in Paris?

Although Gucci is an Italian brand, it would also be cheaper to buy a Gucci product in Paris as opposed to the US or UK. One of the reasons is again, the VAT refund scheme. However, Italy is also part of the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning the products won’t inquire taxes on their way to Paris.

Alternatives

If you are not planning to buy a plane ticket to Paris anytime soon, then buying from a resale site is a great alternative.

Sites the Fashionphile and The Real Real always have great quality luxury goods on propose so you are bound to find something you love.

1. Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton has loads of exactly stunning bags in their collection – the Alma and the Speedy are just two examples.

The Louis Vuitton Speedy is an iconic bag and in this, now-discontinued, multicolor monogram it is definitely a statement piece. The multicolor monogram was a collaboration LV did with Takashi Murakami for a limited time and is no longer available, so one of the top places to buy this bag is on Fashionphile.

The Alma is another instantly recognizable Louis Vuitton bag. The fantastic curved shape is unique, and this version is in lovely rose-colored epi leather, that has a very slight sheen to it which accentuates the texture of the leather. A lock and two keys arrive with this bag as well, a classic Louis Vuitton feature.

2. Chanel

Chanel is one of the Trendy famous French fashion houses, and their handbags are timeless heirloom pieces you will love forever.

The Chanel Boy bag is a more structured shoulder bag, that of course features quintessentially Chanel quilting. The turquoise caviar leather is emphasized by the silver chain strap and CC hardware push lock – this bag is great for adding a small pop of color to any outfit.

This super sumptuous Chanel quilted flap bag is completely stunning. This is a sophisticated Chanel classic that is always in style. The top cope with and long shoulder strap make it so versatile, while the multiple interior pockets and exterior pocket mean this bag is totally practical as well!

3. Dior

The heritage of the Christian Dior brand is shown through their lovely collection of irresistible handbags you need to obtain your hands on.

The Saddle Bag is equestrian-inspired in its unusual shape – there is no other bag like it. The calfskin leather is buttery-soft and features a matching shoulder strap and an aged-gold D logo. This Dior saddlebag would fit perfectly into any bag collection and bring a unique element to any outfit.

The Lady Dior bag is a timeless classic of the Dior cannon. You just can’t go wrong with the elegant style of a Lady Dior.

The leather is quilted in a geometric pattern and the chunky top handles and removable shoulder strap make this a lovely yet versatile bag. This version of the Lady Dior is in an ultra-matte grey which accentuates the finer details of this incredible bag.

We anticipate you found this article on whether luxury brands are cheaper in Paris helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the posts below.

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