Location, Location, Location..

You’re familiar with this mantra used by real estate agents regarding the pricing of homes, right? Well, it’s the same for discounts on the higher costs of designer goods…

Anticipating our trip to Spain, I was looking forward to so many things, the views, sightseeing, the food, experiencing it all with my family…and the discounts on European brand handbags!

They are not “discounted” per se, but the prices in Europe for European name brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, etc., are lower than they are in the US. In the same way, US-based brands such as Coach, Tiffany’s, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors, to name a few, are priced lower in the US than abroad.

If you do the calculations, as I’ve done, you will find that the savings by buying abroad can be up to 30-40% of what you’d be paying in the US.

For example, here is a list of Louis Vuitton items as they are priced in the US versus Spain (EU).

Louis Vuitton Prices Spain 2017

All prices are based on June 2017 prices

If you take into account the exchange rate at this time, the difference is quite significant. Add to that the sales taxes I pay in Los Angeles, California, which is 9% on top of the list price, and the difference is more. In Europe, the VAT (value added tax) is included in the list price, so there is no additional amount to pay. However, to increase and support tourism, for tourists purchasing goods in Europe, the government returns the paid VAT tax (10%) at the airport, giving you a bigger discount.

Louis Vuitton Noe monogram canvas

Take this Louis Vuitton Noe in monogrammed canvas, for example. In the US, the cost is $1,440 plus tax 9.25% (in Los Angeles) for an out-the-door price of $1,573.

The same Noe is priced at 1,040 Euros, which includes the VAT of 10%. Assuming you’ll get the VAT back at the airport, the Noe costs 936 Euros. Even using the exchange rate of today (1E = $0.85), that’s $1,105 in US dollars, and a discount of ~ $470! That’s a 30% discount from the $1,573 you’d have paid in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Longchamp Travel tote L peacock blue

Let’s do another one – this one with an even larger discount! Longchamp. I love me some Le Pliage totes. The Travel Bag (L) is priced at $135 in the US. In Los Angeles, Ca, with sales tax, it would cost you $147. In Spain the same tote is priced at 80 Euros, including the VAT. We remove the VAT of 10% and use the exchange rate used above, and we get $85 for the bag. $85 vs. $147 is a 42% discount from what you’d pay in Los Angeles! Now I feel dumb for not splurging more at Longchamp!

(Note: there are limits for the VAT, in Spain the minimum purchase was just under 100 Euros. At the Longchamp boutique, they offered to combine smaller purchases made on different days for VAT paperwork eligibility, within a defined time period.)

Here is a list of items and price comparisons:

european handbag prices vs. U.S. prices

Of course, the added cost of travel (airfare, hotel, etc.) doesn’t justify flying to Europe for a discount on designer brands… However, if you happen to be traveling, it would be financially beneficial to buy while in the designer discount land of Europe!

Do you know of other good travel “discounts”? Please comment below.

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