Savvy shoppers are always on the lookout for the best bargains. While shopping locally is the most convenient option, what if you decided your next holiday based on where you can get top-notch discounts during shopping? If you don’t plan on going for a holiday though, online shopping and international shipping services are there to bridge the gap.

In this guide, we’ll share the best countries where much-loved brands come with enticing price tags, ensuring you get the most value for your money even as you splurge.

Europe: Save up on luxury goods & trendy styles

In 2024, Malaysian shoppers may have to brace themselves for higher prices on luxury items, courtesy of the soon to be added High-Value Goods Tax. If you want to treat yourself to a slice of luxury, it’s important to know where to shop. Europe, of course, is the ideal place for savvy spending. Shoppers can easily find themselves surrounded by luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, among others – and enjoy  up to 15% VAT refunds in France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK. 

Let’s do the math: A Louis Vuitton jacket would set you back about RM 19,103.78 in Germany, compared to its Malaysian price tag of RM 23,000. The lower price tag along with VAT refunds, could save quite a few thousand ringgit. But don’t worry if a European jaunt isn’t feasible, you can shop online or ask a friend to make the purchase on their travels.

Aside from luxury items, ZARA enthusiasts can get their fashion fix from Turkey, where prices are slightly lower. A maxi dress that costs RM119 in Malaysia could be yours for just RM88.45 in Turkey, translating to a generous 25% in savings. Online shoppers can look to the London-based ASOS, akin to Malaysia’s ZALORA, for dresses, denim, and more starting from £6 (RM35). 

Asia: Athleisure & essentials at a discount

If you’re on the hunt for your favourite athleisure wear from Adidas, you can stop by their retail outlets in Japan, where the sought-after apparel are marked at least 10% below Malaysian prices. In Japan, you can snag a pair of shorts for around RM 144.48, whereas in Malaysia this will cost you around RM 170. Shop like this and you’ll stand to make significant savings, especially when factoring in additional discounts during sales and potential VAT tax refunds.

Speaking of Japan, it’s worth exploring their Uniqlo stores, where prices are approximately 20% more budget-friendly than in Malaysia. If you’re planning to revamp your wardrobe, you’ll save quite a bit of money. You’ll also receive tax exemption if you present your passport at the cashier.

Ultimately, the key to shopping smart lies in knowing where to shop. From the chic streets of Europe to the sportswear destinations of Japan, each country offers a unique shopping opportunity. 

Lastly, to maximise your savings during your travels, always be sure to pay in the local currency when spending abroad. If you’re a Wise user you can consider using the auto conversion feature, which lets you set your desired exchange rate for your preferred currency and once the currency reaches that rate, it will automatically convert. 

Methodology: Unveiling Price Insights

Wise’s comprehensive research delved into the prices of specific clothing items from major fashion brands in over 30 destinations. The analysis involved comparing prices in local online stores and currencies against the corresponding items in the Malaysia online store, using exchange rates sourced from Google Finance as of 17 April 2024.

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