It’s especially good for UK and EU residents. Read on to find out why.
The standard Gatwick Tax Free offer is a pretty good deal. But what makes it even better is that several Gatwick retailers offer you the possibility of buying from their entire online range when you’re in-store. You can then either have your purchase delivered to your home or, in some cases, pick them up on your way back through Gatwick. On top of that, you pay the same Tax Free price irrespective of your destination.
I originally read about this initiative in a Daily Mail article at the end of last year.
I loved the idea. But there’s nothing about it on the Gatwick shopping site.
So I decided to dig a little deeper into the entire Gatwick Tax Free offer. I had a look in the beginning of the year, and I found the results pretty impressive. I decided to revisit it during the summer holiday period to see if anything had changed. Except for a few store changes, everything’s pretty much the same.
The standard Gatwick Tax Free offer is a good deal in the first place
Gatwick has 28 free-standing specialist & designer boutiques, and I was able to reach 22 of them.
They all offer the same prices – whether Tax Free or Tax Discounted – to all departing passengers. I think it’s reasonable to assume the other 6 retailers would do the same. That’s very unusual at EU airports, and it’s a really good deal. It’s rare for intra-EU travellers to get a Tax Discounted price on these sorts of products.
So overall – what’s in it for you?
- You get your entire 20% VAT deducted (16.7% of retail price – see the VAT conversion table.)
- Pricing is clear – the Tax Free price is 16.7% less than the Domestic list price, so you can easily compare prices in advance.
- If you’re a non-EU resident and bought in town, you’d probably have to get your VAT refund through Global Blue. So you wouldn’t get all the VAT back. Global Blue would charge you between 10 and 30% of the VAT refund, depending on the amount of the VAT.
- If you’re a UK or EU resident, you wouldn’t be eligible for a VAT refund at all.
- There’s one other significant, but unpublicized, benefit. If you’re an EU or UK resident, you can buy as much as you want and not worry about any Customs duties. There’s no limit on the importation of goods on which the VAT has been paid in any EU member state. This’ll change after Brexit, though.
Gatwick also offers a Reserve & Collect service with some retailers, which allows you to check in-store availability and pricing beforehand. Some stores will even let you pre-order merchandise for pickup when you depart, which is particularly interesting to non-UK residents.
This new initiative makes it an even better deal
While the basic Gatwick Tax Free offer is a really good deal, the new initiative sweetens it a lot further. It addresses the major weakness of airport boutiques – the limited choice in-store. Plus it makes availability and pricing completely transparent.
The shops where you can order in-store from the retailer’s website
Dune – North & South Terminals
You can order merchandise from the Dune website in the store for free UK home delivery.
Fat Face – North & South Terminals
Fat Face offers free delivery to your home, a store near you, or for pickup on return. You can also order online in advance of your trip (at least 4 days in advance) for pickup at the airport on your way out. You should call them beforehand to sort out the details.
Hugo Boss – North & South Terminals
Hugo Boss offers free delivery to your home or a nearby store. However, they don’t have pickup on return.
Reiss – South Terminal
Reiss offers free delivery to a store near your home, but charges £5.00 for home delivery. They don’t offer pickup on return.
Rolling Luggage – North Terminal
Rolling Luggage offers the in-store online ordering option only on Samsonite products for free home delivery. They also told me that they can arrange delivery to the EU for “a small fee.” They also offer pickup on return if time permits.
Snow & Rock has closed since the Daily Mail article was published
Super Dry – North & South Terminals
Super Dry told me you should ask for the iKiosk when you’re in the store. They offer free home delivery. They mention pickup on return on their website, but when I called the store, they didn’t offer this option.
What else is on offer?
Case Luggage – South Terminal
Although not in the order-in-store scheme, Case also offers a pretty good deal. They will do free home delivery and pickup on return. In addition, you can also call them in advance to order merchandise for pickup when you leave.
Dixons – North & South Terminals
Dixons is a little different to the other stores. They don’t base their airport prices on domestic list prices less VAT. They simply claim to offer very competitive prices to all travellers. From a quick look, they do appear pretty competitive, but you can easily check that for yourself.
Ernest Jones – South Terminal
Ernest Jones offers a phone pre-order service for any item on their website, either for pickup on departure, pickup on return, or for pickup at a store near you. They don’t offer home delivery.
The Bottom Line
Gatwick Tax Free is one of the best Tax Free deals in Europe, particularly for UK and EU residents. On top of that, the order-in-store scheme makes it an even better deal. But, it’s a well-kept secret. You may be surprised that Gatwick doesn’t do a better job of communicating the various benefits of shopping there. But as I’ve mentioned in the section Duty Free Isn’t Just About Price, airports aren’t always great at telling you what they have to offer. That’s partly why I converted shoppair into an online guide to help travellers like you get a good deal. I hope it helps you.
Stores I was able to reach: Accessorize, Ann Summers, Case Luggage, Cath Kidston, Collection, Dune, Dixons, Ernest Jones, Fat Face, Harrods, Hugo Boss, Jack Wills, JD Sports, Karen Millen, Lacoste, Oliver Bonas, Ray-Ban, Reiss, Rolling Luggage, Sunglasses, Super Dry, Ted Baker
Telephone not in service: Next, Sunglass Hut
No phone number on Gatwick’s site: Hamleys, Havaianas, Skinny Dip, The Harry Potter Shop
Updated August 2019