From The Straits Times    |

As the year draws to a close, many of us are gearing up for year-end travels, and a common focus is on scouting for discounted products, particularly from renowned international brands. Take, for instance, popular labels such as Adidas, H&M, Levi’s, Nike, and Uniqlo, where potential savings of up to 20% beckon savvy shoppers.

Wise, a global technology company, recently conducted a study revealing significant price variations in six popular fashion brands across 30 destinations. The report was based on the prices of specific clothing items from these major fashion brands of which the analysis involved comparing the prices of various garments available on the online store and currency against the same item on Singapore’s online store. In its reports, the study also concluded that countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and India as ideal destinations for savvy shoppers seeking more value for their money when purchasing items from these brands.

In Japan, fashion-savvy shoppers can enjoy more savings, with Adidas and H&M offering discounts of more than 30%, while Nike and Uniqlo prices are nearly 20% lower. In Malaysia, H&M steals the spotlight with a nearly 40% discount, alongside 18% off Adidas, and savings exceeding 20% on Nike. Indonesia is also a great destination for Levi’s enthusiasts, with prices up to 36% cheaper, and a substantial 27% off on Nike. India emerges as a shopping haven with Levi’s as well, with nearly 30% lower prices, while you can enjoy up to 32% discounts when shopping at Nike, and Zara offering significant savings of 28%. These attractive discounts make these countries prime destinations for fashion-forward individuals seeking substantial savings on popular brands.

On the flipside, locals who are travelling are also cautioned to avoid certain destinations like mainland China, Denmark, and Sweden to sidestep potential shopping pitfalls for brands such as Levi’s, Nike, and Uniqlo.

For instance, Mainland China offers a less favourable shopping landscape for brands like Levi’s and Nike, with prices soaring more than 40% higher for Levi’s and 12% for Nike. In Denmark, caution is advised as Uniqlo prices can skyrocket by an astonishing average of 120% more, Levi’s can cost over 50% extra, and Nike prices may be more than 10% higher. Hong Kong proves to be a pricey destination for Levi’s aficionados, with jeans setting shoppers back by nearly 80% more than the cost in Singapore. Similarly, Sweden emerges as a destination with considerably steeper prices, particularly for Uniqlo, where shoppers may encounter prices up to 90% higher than those in Singapore.

Here’s a quick overview of the best deals and the countries to avoid when making these purchases:

Aside from knowing which brands to shop for when you’re travelling abroad, there are other ways to enjoy savings while you’re overseas. For example:

Use a multi-currency card

When shopping overseas, it’s highly encouraged that you use a multi-currency card instead of using your own credit card or cash. Doing so doesn’t just help you avoid hidden transaction fees, but you can also convert them at the mid-market rate (the same rate as you see on Google) within the app itself.

Pay in local currency

When you’re overseas, you have the option to pay in your home currency or the local currency. However, going for the local currency is a savvy move. It means fewer fees, better exchange rates, and ultimately more bang for your buck. By sidestepping those extra charges linked to currency conversion, you’re maximising the value of your money during financial transactions abroad.

Watch out for hidden fees

Certain banks may impose a currency conversion fee along with an inflated exchange rate, resulting in shoppers unknowingly incurring two types of fees. Hence, it’s important to be aware of this practice and exercise caution when encountering terms like ‘fee-free’ as they may not necessarily indicate a completely cost-free transaction.