Saturday, June 8, 2013

Duty Free Shopping in Singapore - Changi Airport

To 99.9% of travellers leaving/arriving Singapore by air, there is only Changi Airport (Seletar Airport is private jets only).

Typically, most airports only sell items at tax-free prices (downtown price less the sales tax). Not at Changi! They go one better and sell items at lower prices. These lower prices are not limited to the pricey departmental store brands.

Is it any surprise then, that Changi Airport is one of the best places in Asia for duty free shopping? In fact, my Taiwanese friend expressed her regret at not buying SK-II from Changi Airport.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain selling at S$12.20 at Changi (compared to S$18.90 everywhere else). 

Lancome's Teint Miracle selling at S$53.50 at Changi compared to S$66 downtown

As if the lower prices weren't enough to encourage spending, the duty free Changi stores have also cleverly managed to secure limited edition versions of products or travel retail exclusives for sale. 

Kose Sekkisei Lotion Limited edition 500ml bottle selling at S$125/ (a better price per ml compared to its usual prices/sizes)

Changi Airport has just launched a new website to cater to those leaving Singapore. You can now shop online, add products and pay for them and collect items 60 mins before your flight departs Singapore.

Nuance Watson operates the Perfume & Cosmetics stores in Changi Airport and their website offers a similar order before you fly option.

If you're intending to shop before your flight, do take note of the time your flight departs.

I took an early morning flight out once and only 1 Perfume & Cosmetics store was open at a central location (as opposed to the many closed Perfume & Cosmetics stores on the way to the gates). In fact, I discovered that most stores in Changi were only open at 6 am.

Although the draw for duty free shopping are its lower than downtown prices and exclusives, duty free shopping means that they don't have the full range of products that the downtown stores have. For instance, Lancome's Mat Miracle was not available at Changi in April although departmental stores had been promoting it by then.

There is also a lack of time to try and test out products as you have a plane to catch. I've found shopping at Changi to be most efficient when I know what product (and shade) I want. The duty free shopping then becomes 'pick-and-go' and the non-shopaholics will thank you.

That is unless you get tempted by their GWPs and have to spend some time thinking about how to add enough to your basket to get those minis.

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