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Britons will spend more than £8 billion at airport duty free shops this year

Britons will spend hundreds of millions at duty free shops this year (Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Britons will spend more than £8 billion at airport duty free shops across the country this year.

Analysis shows on average, each holidaymaker splashes out almost £40 on food, alcohol, gifts and other items they have forgotten to pack.

This is despite the fact that, since 1999, products in the airport are only exempt from excise duty to those travelling to destinations outside the European Union.

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When it comes to killing time at the airport it seems that shopping still tops our list of preferred pastimes, with nearly a third of travellers (30%) spending at least half an hour browsing duty free, and 36% earmarking at least £50 of their holiday budget for an airport splurge.

The top 10 items Brits are buying in airports are:

  1. Food – 35%
  2. Alcohol – 29%
  3. Perfume/aftershave – 28%
  4. Cigarettes – 20%
  5. Gifts for family/friends – 12%
  6. Make-up – 12%
  7. Skincare -11%
  8. Clothing – 9%
  9. Electronics – 8%
  10. Forgotten items e.g. phone charger – 7%

Currency provider International Currency Exchange (ICE) polled 1,000 Brits on their airport spending habits and found that the average traveller splashes out £39.85 a time on duty free purchases.

With almost 208.3 million passengers travelling in the first three quarters of 2016 alone, this means a potential £8.3 billion spent every year.

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“When it comes to making the most of your shopping budget or leftover currency at the end of your trip, it’s important to understand the rules surrounding Duty Free and the items on which you might be able to get the best deal,” said ICE CEO Koko Sarkari.

“For some items, you might be best shopping around when you get home, whereas others will be much cheaper at the airport, so it’s always best to check ahead of time on the potential savings you could make.”

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The research also looked at the best airports in the UK for Duty Free shopping, with nearly a third of travellers (30%) voting London Heathrow as their preferred airport, closely followed by Manchester (23%).

The top 5 airports for Duty Free shopping are:

  1. London Heathrow – 30%
  2. Manchester – 23%
  3. London Gatwick – 16%
  4. London Stansted- 8%
  5. Glasgow – 4%