Are Luxury Brands Cheaper In The UK? Well, It’s Complicated

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If you are heading to the UK soon, you may be thinking about doing a little luxury shopping, but are luxury brands cheaper in the UK? This article will tell you all the details you need to know.

London, as one of the fashion capitals of the world, is home to countless luxury brands and flagship stores. If you are looking to do some shopping while you are in the United Kingdom, you may be wondering what the pricing compares to other places in the world and if designer brands are any more affordable.

Regent Street, London with UK Union Jack flags

This article will answer the question, are luxury brands cheaper in the UK, to make sure you have all the information you need to know before you head to the United Kingdom, including the best places to shop and the best brand to go for. Keep reading to find out all the important details before you take a trip all the way to the UK.

Are Luxury Brands Cheaper in The UK?

The short answer is that most luxury brands are a little cheaper in the UK than the US, India, China and Australia, but unfortunately, they’re more expensive than in other European countries.

On top of this, the UK doesn’t offer a VAT refund system anymore (it was scrapped after Brexit). As a tourist, you can claim an extra 5-15% off your purchase in countries that offer a VAT refund system, while in the UK, you cannot. For this reason, France and Italy are often considered the best countries for VAT-free luxe shopping, especially in Europe.

However, coming back to the UK, the final price of items depends on a few different aspects, including where you are from and the current exchange rates, so let’s look at why designer brands may be cheaper and how to get the best prices.

Firstly, as we already established, if you are traveling in from the EU, luxury brands and goods are typically more expensive in the UK, since the prices are only affected by exchange rates. Whereas if you are traveling to the UK from the US, India, China, or Australia, then many European luxury brands can often be found at a slightly cheaper price.

However, Korea and Japan tend to be on par or even slightly cheaper than the UK, especially for European brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Chanel. Plus, you have to keep in mind that you usually need to pay a few % in duties on the products that you buy abroad, so if you are visiting from these countries, it makes sense to skip your shopping trip in the UK.

With this said British designer brands, like Burberry, Alexander McQueen, DeMellier and Jimmy Choo are definitely worth taking a look at, as they can have significantly greater inventory in the UK, as well as better prices depending on the exact product that you are looking for.

Again, it’s important to note that most British brands will be cheaper or on par with prices in the eurozone, potentially due to higher demand, so if you are visiting from France, Italy, or any other country, you won’t get a better deal.

However, from what we’ve seen, British brands are typically cheaper in the UK if you are visiting from any other part of the world.

exchange rates

To guarantee the best price, it is best to check the exchange rates between the British Pound and your home currency right before you leave for your trip and while you are on holiday in the UK, so you can always know if you are getting a better price or a better deal.

There has been a fall in the value of the UK pound since Brexit, which is a benefit if you are looking to do a little shopping while in the United Kingdom.

Here is an example of how the exchange rate can make a difference in the price of luxury goods while you are in the UK:

  • A Gucci Horsebit 1955 shoulder bag in the United States will cost you $2,890 + tax.
  • This same bag in the UK will cost you £2,220, which equals $2,799 – this means you will save $91 + tax if you purchase this bag in the UK vs the US.
  • However, if you hop on the Eurostar and head to Paris, the same bag will cost you €2,500, or $2,721. With a 12% VAT refund, your total would come to €2,200 or $2,394, saving you $405 + tax.

As you can see, out of the three, France is the better country for luxury shopping, but the UK is still cheaper than the US.

Best places to shop in the UK

No matter where you are in the UK, there are lots of great places to shop nearby where you can find all the top high-end brands. The best places for luxury shopping are London and Manchester, but there are plenty of shopping malls and department stores all over the UK to browse.

If you are in London, you need to head to Selfridges, Harrods, and the general Bond Street/Sloane Square area. You may also want to visit Bicester Village – a luxury outlet area just an hour’s train ride away from central London (great for day trips and of course, bargains!).

If you are further north and close to Manchester, the best places to shop include Selfridges, and the streets near Exchange Square.

If you are in Scotland, make sure to head to Multrees Walk and Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, and Argyll Arcade in Glasgow.

British luxury brands you need to know about

If you are off to the UK anytime soon, these are the British brands and designer labels you need to keep an eye out for and some of the best-selling products you need to add to your wardrobe! Below are some of the most notable examples.

1. Burberry
Black Burberry Note Leather & Vintage Check Crossbody Bag
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Black, tan, white, and red Burberry Small Title Leather & Vintage Check Two-Handle Bag
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Burberry is one of the most famous British brands and is a great one to go for if you are on holiday in the United Kingdom because of its rich heritage and timeless designs. You can of course pick up the iconic Burberry trench coat, but there are also lots of gorgeous luxury bags that deserve a place in your collection!

We love the chic yet practical design of this Burberry Note Leather & Vintage Check Crossbody Bag, crafted from black leather with a Burberry check pocket peeking out from under the front flap. This stylish bag features gold hardware, a black webbing strap, and a check lining to give this bag a quintessentially Burberry look.

The Burberry Small Title Leather & Vintage Check Two-Handle Bag is ideal if you are looking for something more spacious for work. This bag is fitted with top handles and a removable crossbody strap, while the organized interior, with a central zipper compartment, means you can always find just what you need. The combination of black leather, a signature check canvas, and tan leather trim on this top handle bag ensures a sophisticated look!

2. Stella McCartney
Black Stella McCartney Falabella Mini Tote Bag
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Black Stella McCartney Frayme Small Crossbody Bag
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Stella McCartney is another famous luxury brand, best known for making use of sustainable practices and vegetarian materials, in honor of her mother, Linda McCartney. Stella McCartney purses are some of the best-selling pieces from the brand and are a perfect addition to your wardrobe if you are looking for sustainable luxury goods.

The Falabella bags are just gorgeous, each crafted from faux leather and finished with chain edges for a glam look. We love the compact size of this  Falabella Mini Tote Bag, the ideal size for your everyday essentials, and fitted with chain handles and a shoulder strap so you can style this bag in many different ways.

The Stella McCartney Frayme Small Crossbody Bag has a sleek and refined look, made from sustainable faux leather and embellished with a chunky silver and gold chain that runs around the edge of the bag and extends to form a shoulder strap. The interior is pretty roomy and is fitted with a slip pocket, plus this bag is available in lots of different colors.

3. Alexander McQueen
Silver Alexander McQueen Mini Jewelled Metallic Faux Leather Hobo bag
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White Alexander McQueen Mini Skull Croc Embossed Leather Bag
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Alexander McQueen became a world-renowned designer in the 1990s for striking and completely unique runway shows displaying Avant Garde collection, and this eye-catching style has had an influence on McQueen accessories – as you can see in this Jewelled Metallic Faux Leather Hobo bag.

The shiny silver faux leather perfectly highlights the multifaceted silhouette of this mini hobo bag, while the knuckle clasp that sits on the top of the bag adds an attention-grabbing finishing touch. Style this bag over the shoulder with the detachable chain strap, or slip your fingers through the four rings on the top of the bag – totally unique!

If you are looking for something a little more minimalist, this Alexander McQueen Mini Skull Croc Embossed Leather Bag is a great option. The bag is crafted from glossy white croc-embossed leather and then embellished with a gleaming gold skull motif – a symbol synonymous with the Alexander McQueen brand. The compact size makes this bag ideal for an evening out.

4. JW Anderson
Beige JW Anderson Small Knot Chain Leather Top-Handle Bag
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Lilac JW Anderson Cabas Logo Canvas Tote Bag
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JW Anderson is a London-based designer brand founded by Jonathon Anderson, the creative director of Loewe, and filled with similarly innovative and creative designs.

This beautiful JW Anderson Small Knot Chain Leather Top-Handle Bag perfectly shoes the stunning designs available from JW Anderson, with the sumptuous leather in a relaxed silhouette contrasted with chunky gold chain hardware. The interior of this stylish leather bag is pretty spacious, just ideal for your daily essentials items. This top handle bag is available in peachy beige or black and retails for $1,050.

We love the pastel tones and classic look of this JW Anderson Cabas Logo Canvas Tote Bag. The canvas tote is available in lilac or mustard yellow, perfect for the summer months, and is decorated with the JW Anderson logo in the same pastel shade for a tonal look. The tote is finished with a tie closure and flat canvas shoulder straps.

5. DeMellier
Black DeMellier London Leather Saddle Shoulder Bag
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Off white and tan DeMellier Midi New York Buckle Leather Tote Bag
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DeMellier is a recent British brand that has become known for sleek silhouettes and high-quality materials, so if you are looking for a timeless bag while you are in the UK, DeMellier is a great brand to check out.

The DeMellier London Leather Saddle Shoulder Bag has an elegant look, with supple black leather and gleaming gold hardware to add a glamorous touch to this chic handbag. The bag has an angular saddle bag silhouette, fitted with a front flap that allows easy access to the roomy interior. The black shoulder strap is adjustable so this bag can be worn on the shoulder or across the body.

The DeMellier Midi New York Buckle Leather Tote Bag is a fantastic, spacious bag that is guaranteed to fit all your work or weekend essentials. The off-white leather bag has a striking silhouette, finished with a gold buckle in the center and rolled leather top handles.

The interior zipper pocket and detachable shoulder strap ensure practicality, while off white and tan color combination means this tote is versatile enough to suit a wide range of outfits.

We hope you found this article answering the question, are luxury brands cheaper in the UK helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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