Duty-Free airport retail stores offer you the opportunity to enjoy tax-free shopping while you’re at the airport. If you have time to kill as you await or depart your flight, or want to pick up a few remembrances for someone at home, look to retail shops at the airport. Not only will they potentially save you money, but they offer some amazing experiences as well.
We’ve rounded up 7 world-class airports that provide the best bargains and shopping experiences, below.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn where to shop duty-free around the world in these 7 world-class airports. This includes:
- What are Duty-Free Airports?
- Should You Shop Duty-Free Airport Retail Stores?
- Airports with the Best Shopping Experiences
- Changi Airport in Singapore
- Heathrow International Airport
- Dubai International Airport
- Hong Kong International Airport
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
- Narita International Airport in Japan
- Final Thoughts on Airport Shopping Stores
Before we share the best airports for duty-free shopping with exceptional experiences, let’s make sure you understand the basics.
What are Duty-Free Airports?
Duty-free airports are airports that provide a tax-free shopping experience, usually after you’ve cleared customs on departure or arrival. “Duty-free” means you won’t be charged the tax, or duty, levied on certain imported goods.
What are the Benefits of Airport Shopping?
In a word, bargains. And on good stuff, too!
At duty-free airport retail stores, you’ll usually find items like:
- luxury goods
- and tobacco
They will most likely be offered at discounted price, since the import/export taxes are not applied.
Bear in mind that the price may vary from airport to airport and even within airlines in the same airport. Either way, it still may be less expensive than purchasing the item outside the airport.
Before buying, be sure to compare prices with those outside the airport to be certain it’s a bargain.
Now, there’s more to shopping than getting a bargain. Let’s get on to the airports that offer the best shopping experiences, and what they offer, duty-free.
These Airports Provide the Best Shopping Experiences
The modern aviation experience is no longer just about the flight. Many airports have evolved from being mere gateways into countries to becoming iconic travel destinations in and of themselves.
Nowadays, many travellers actually look forward to going to the airport so that they can dine in world-class restaurants, relax in upscale lounges, or even discover unique airport features such as art installations, indoor swimming pools, movie theatres, and spa facilities.
One of the biggest highlights of a trip to the airport these days is retail therapy, as the world’s most famous aviation hubs now also offer shopping experiences unlike any other.
But which airports in the world are best known for being a shoppers’ paradise?
Here’s a quick list of aviation hubs that are world-renowned for being shopping meccas, plus a glimpse into the retail offerings you can find in each airport destination.
1. Changi Airport in Singapore
Changi Airport has earned the top distinction in Skytrax’s World Airport Awards multiple times. Its wealth of retail options surely factors into its rankings.
In the Jewel Changi Airport alone, you can shop for gadgets, clothing, jewelry, toys, and cosmetics that you’d be hard-pressed to get anywhere else.
Highlights of this Changi Airport shopping mall include:
- The Pokémon Center for merchandise related to the beloved anime
- Make Hero for high-quality Japanese beauty products
- In Good Company for Singaporean couture
- Sift and Pick for fashion items that are all the rage in the K-fashion scene.
If you have the chance to go around the Jewel complex, you’ll be sure to enjoy its repertoire of retail shops as well as its green spaces, cafés, restaurants, and tourist attractions. This includes the HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
Related Article: You’l love these Luxury Hotels in Southeast Asia.
2. Heathrow International Airport in the United Kingdom
Another world-class airport with superb retail offerings is Heathrow International Airport in London.
Here, you’ll find the Heathrow branch of Harrods, the iconic British luxury retailer. So, duty free shopping at Heathrow covers brands like:
- Bottega Veneta
Fans of the Harry Potter franchise can also live out their Hogwarts dreams by visiting The Harry Potter Shop and buying exclusive Harry Potter merchandise like sweaters, scarves, and wands.
And if you want to be even more at ease while shopping at Heathrow, there’s even a personal shopping service that’s free of charge and that can be booked ahead.
Related Article: While you’re in the UK, check out these self-guided UK walking tours.
3. Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates
Even if a shopper isn’t due to spend a lot of time in the so-called City of Gold, they’ll be treated to a royal shopping experience in Dubai International Airport.
Top luxury brands like Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, Montblanc, and Bvlgari are well-represented here.
But shoppers should also look forward to Dubai Airport’s exceptional catalogue of duty free airport stores that specialise in electronics offerings, which include:
- High-end cameras
- Other electronics, duty-free
Suffice it to say, if your goal is to get a good deal on consumer electronics while you’re abroad, shopping at Dubai Airport is a good bet.
Related Article: Find out the best way you can spend 2 days in Dubai.
4. Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong
The cultural melting pot of Hong Kong is also home to an airport that’s won the title of Best Airport for Transit from Skytrax. The airport’s 24-hour retail experience likely figures into this distinction.
HKIA’s airport complex houses two shopping malls and a variety of retail outlets. This includes popular consumer brands like Bose, Zara, and Calvin Klein, and luxury brands like Armani and Chanel.
But it is just as fun to go bargain hunting in the airport for items like leather goods and souvenirs, and to shop for goodies like Cantonese pastries.
5. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France
Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world, and shoppers will be able to understand why from the fashion offerings available at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Fashion stalwarts that can be found in CDG include:
On top of fashion finds, you can also look forward to getting excellent deals on duty free perfume and fragrances, gift sets, artisanal chocolates and cheeses, wines, and electronics.
You will be able to get a quick taste of France’s signature cosmopolitanism even after a couple of hours shopping at CDG.
6. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands
Airport shoppers looking for awesome duty-free deals will have great luck in Amsterdam Schiphol, which is also one of the most scenic airports in Europe.
In addition to items like watches, cosmetics, gadgets, and clothing, Schiphol is also a shopping haven for those who love books, art souvenirs, bonbons, coffee, cheeses, and liquors.
Duty-free airport retail stores that are worth a peep in Schiphol include:
- Dutch department store HEMA
- Suit shop Suitsupply
- Statement jeweller GASSAN
Enjoy the hours that you have in Schiphol with an unforgettable airport shopping experience.
Related Article: Plan a lovely day trip from Amsterdam to Geithoorn.
7. Narita International Airport in Japan
When in Narita International Airport, you can do as the Japanese do and shop for a variety of omiyage, or souvenir gifts to take home to loved ones.
Narita duty free airport finds that shoppers should get excited about are:
- Banana custard-filled pastries from Tokyo Banana
- Uniquely flavoured snacks from KitKat and Pocky
- Confections from chocolatiers Godiva and ROYCE’
- Traditional Japanese sweets from Hiyoko
- Stationery from Traveller’s Factory.
These items will have you looking forward to your airport shopping, as well as surprising family and friends with your travel haul.
Related Article: Visit Setouchi Japan for an off-the-beaten path island experience.
Final Thoughts on Duty-Free Airport Retail Stores
This article is just a teaser for all the unique retail experiences that await you the next time you go traveling. Which airport are you the most excited to visit, and what items do you want to add to your duty free airport shopping cart?
Next, keep planning your travels and check out these comfy travel outfits for your flight.
Or, discover how you can find great parking deals at the airport here.
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20 thoughts on “7 World-Class Airports with the Best Duty-Free Airport Retail Stores”
This is a fantastic list of great airports to shop. I love both Schipol and Dubai for that. If I’m doing long haul flights I’ll try to get them via Dubai. Schipol has lots of choices to eat also I love their airport spa.
Glad to hear you agree, Nicole! And, what’s not to love about an airport spa, right?!
Duty-free shopping is an enticing perk of foreign travel. So, whenever I’m passing through one of these airports, I’ll definitely stop by and take advantage of their tax-free special offers. Thank you for sharing – I now have more ideas for the top Duty Free Airport Retail Outlet!
You’re welcome, Maria!
I’ve never actually bought anything in a duty-free store. Occasionally I’ve walked through one to see if there was anything of interest. It doesn’t surprise me that the best duty-free stores would be found in Changi or Heathrow airports, or even Dubai, as it seems like those would be classy areas to shop!
I agree! Those three airports you mention definitely offer some upscale items, duty-free!
I’ve been to six of these airports. I used to buy something at Changi when I was still lived in Jakarta and had company business to Singapore. Hope to stop there this summer. And of course, never forget to buy KitKat and Pocky from Narita, and matcha this and matcha that.
Love it! Hope you do get back, and enjoy all your fun purchases in Singapore!
Ahhh I’ll be in the Paris one next week! Might have to plan extra time for shopping! I would also add the singapore airport to this list- it is magical!!
I’ll be in CDG in early June and am looking forward to some shopping myself. Safe travels, Chloe! Enjoy!
Nice round-up on airport retail stores and duty free shopping. While I love browsing through the shops during waiting time, I often find that the things I want to buy are not significantly cheaper than buying them online or in regular shop. I do not look for high-end clothing or electronics though. In my opinion, Singapore offers the best airport shopping.
Yes, it is important to know what the retail price would be so you know whether you’re getting a good deal!
This is a very well curated post Jackie. I completely agree about airports being more than just a transportation service but hubs of food, shopping and entertainment. I personally loved the Harry Potter merchandise store at Heathrow and CDG has some best shopping IMO, even Istanbul. I felt I must just spend the entire 9 hour layover shopping 😀
Thank you! Haha, shopping can definitely be a great way to spend a layover!
I love to take advantage of duty-free shopping. So much so I get to the airport a little bit early as I love to go through each of the stores. It’s a bit of a tradition of things I like to buy and bring back.
That is very smart and a fun tradition, Renee!
I’ve traveled to a number of these airports you wrote about about I feel you have hit the nail on the head. I love Amsterdam as it’s so big u could easily get lost. My favourite for duty free has to be Dubai tho the amazing ceilings and structure absolute amaze me.
Nice to hear you agree, Jason! I share your sentiments exactly.
About airport transfers service…Nassau Bahamas provides express transportation (Private Hire), services to and from Bahamas Airports, Bahamas Cruise Ports and to and from anywhere in the Bahamas.
That’s great to know! We used a similar service going from Nassau to Cat Island.
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