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Duty free shops are an impressive feat of convincing people to overpay for items by creating a perception of value and urgency for items often otherwise available for better prices and at more convenience.
No one says ‘duty free’ means ‘good price.’ Mark-ups seem to more than compensate for any tax alleviation.
Heading out of Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) this morning I was reminded of years shuttling between China and the US where friends lined up for me to sate their appetites at China prices, regardless of airport. I would then land in Tokyo Narita and seee significantly higher prices for the same items. To this day I have not seen any duty free shops in other countries come close.
I am not much of a drinker and never a smoker, so picked some well-known brands to give sample prices (c0nverted to USD), all are cartons or the standard bottles, generally the variations are the same or similar price:
Gauloises Blondes: $15.34
Sobranie Black Russians: $29.55
Johnny Walker Black: $31.97
Absolute Vodka: $19.86
I am not with the times, the prices seem to have not gone up much in several years so I think they are probably still good value.
Readers, are China’s duty free shops worth your spend? Any other countries better?