In case somewhere along the way I sound like an over-enthusiastic cheerleader, let me just put it out here from the get-go: this is not an advertorial, I just very unabashedly love Changi Airport. And sure, I enjoy the stunning viewing galleries and ever-courteous service staff, but above all I am an auntie in a 20-something-year-old body, so what I really love is the Changi Airport duty-free shopping.
In fact, I love it so much that I actually avoid red-eye flights (which are typically cheaper) just so I can shop. I know that I can’t possibly be alone in this, and so today I present to you the ultimate Changi Airport duty-free shopping guide.
Changi Airport duty-free alcohol
|Duty-free stores for alcohol & tobacco||Price||Terminal|
|DFS Wines & Spirits||$ to $$$||1, 2, 3 and 4|
We pay the highest duties for alcohol and cigarettes, so let’s start there. You can get duty-free alcohol in the transit area of every terminal. You can get everything from canned beers to bottled wine at all the DFS Wines & Spirits stores. The best part is that on top of being duty-free, these stores sometimes have additional discounts.
For instance, there’s currently an additional 10% off the 1L bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label ($256.50 instead of $285). If you’re lucky, you may also find limited edition bottles and airport-exclusive bundles (e.g. twin packs).
If you prefer a more premium selection or the help of a wine specialist, head to Terminal 3 to check out DFS Vintage. For your reference, the alcohol allowance is as follows:
- 1L of wine + 1L of spirits + 1L of beer OR
- 2L of wine + 1L litre of beer OR
- 1L of wine + 2L of beer
The stores also sell cigarettes and cigars, but sadly, there is no duty-free concession for tobacco products. Make sure you declare them all at customs and pay the corresponding taxes.
Changi Airport duty-free cosmetics – up to 40% off at Shilla Duty Free
|Duty-free stores for cosmetics||Price||Terminal|
|Guardian||$||1, 2, and 3|
|Watsons||$||3 and 4|
|Shilla duty free||$ to $$$||1, 2, 3 and 4|
|Laneige / Sulwahsoo||$$||3|
|Victoria’s Secret||$$||1, 2, and 3|
I don’t drink or smoke, and my vice takes the form of makeup and beauty products. The main cosmetics megastore in the airport is Shilla Duty Free, which is a Korean chain. They carry over 140 brands of perfume and cosmetics, so you can probably get whatever you want there. On top of not paying tax, you can get additional discounts of up to 40% on most brands like Urban Decay, NARS, YSL and the newly launched HERA.
Chanel cosmetics are also super popular because they’re not carried by any beauty chain (like Sephora) in Singapore so they rarely go on sale. The only way to get it discounted is to purchase it duty-free from Changi Airport. They also have airport-exclusive packs and bundles so extra savings. Shilla Duty Free also owns the 3 Victoria’s Secret stores there.
There’s also a Laneige / Sulwahsoo shop in the area Terminal 3, and although it is in the public area, you need a boarding pass to pay duty-free prices.
Not travelling? You can still get duty-free stuff from Watsons and Guardian
For those who aren’t actually travelling, you can still have taxes absorbed when you shop at the Watsons and Guardian stores in the public area. This perk is exclusive to Changi Rewards members, but membership is free so anyone can sign up.
Changi Airport duty-free electronics
|E-Gadget & E-Gadget Mini||$ to $$||2, 3 and 4|
|Cameras Electronics Computers by Sprint-Cass||$ to $$$||2 and 3|
|iStudio||$ to $$$||1, 2, 3 and 4|
|Samsung||$ to $$$||3|
|SONY||$ to $$$||3|
Another super-worth-it thing to pickup while travelling is electronics. There are quite a few electronics specialty stores within Changi Airport, and since stuff like laptops and cameras are quite big ticket items, you can save quite a bit.
If you just want to pick up some international adapters or cables, you can just head the smaller E-Gadget Mini stores. For anything else, head to Cameras Electronics Computers by Sprint-Cass. Unlike cosmetics they’re mostly not discounted – just duty-free – so I wouldn’t exactly wait until I’m travelling to shop for stuff like camera accessories and etc.
But the true “must-buy”? The iPhone XS Max.
The stuff that’s really worth it to get are the Apple products from iStudio, because even at IT fairs and roadshows, Apple stuff never goes on sale. At most, you get some freebies thrown in. The 13″ Macbook Pro with Touch Bar (512GB) is currently $2,502.80 (RTP $2,878.00).
They even have the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max leh – don’t play play. For the iPhone XS Max (256GB), it is $1,905.61, a cool $133.39 cheaper than the retail price of $2,039. It’s still super ridiculous and over-priced in my opinion, but if you’re going to get it anyway and you’re travelling soon…
There’s also a SONY at Terminal 3 if you’re interested in getting PlayStation controllers or consoles – the 1TB PlayStation 4 is selling for $466.40 instead of the $499 retail price.
Disclaimer: The GST relief is actually only for products under $600 value (if you’ve spent >48h overseas). So technically you do need to declare and pay tax for these big ticket items.
However, many travellers very naughty – they purchase the items and open it up right away so it becomes a “used” personal belonging.
This is kind of illegal. And the customs may still decide to tax you if they think you bought it duty-free.
Changi Airport duty-free fashion
|Charles and Keith||$||1, 2, 3 and 4|
|Uniqlo||$||1 and 4|
|Adidas & Adidas Originals||$$||1, 2, 3 and 4|
|Longchamp||$$||1, 2 and 3|
|The Fashion Gallery||$$ to $$$||2|
There are quite a few fashion and lifestyle stores within Changi Airport as well, and I’ve listed a few above. For most of them, they’re not significantly cheaper than the retail prices outside.
The one that I find offers the most discount – on top of the 7% tax – is The Fashion Gallery at Terminal 2. They mostly carry quite atas brands like Balenciaga and YSL, but they do have a few racks lined with more affordable stuff. For instance, I’ve gotten Melissa shoes on sale there for 50% off retail price. They also sell quite a wide range of sunglasses.
Duty-free shopping online via iShopChangi
If you anticipate that you may not have enough time to shop in Transit, you can do some of it via iShopChangi. It’s like any regular online store whereby you add whatever you want to cart and just check out. The only difference is that you collect it within Changi Airport’s transit area when you fly or land, presenting your passport and boarding pass as proof that you’re a passenger. Do note that although you’ll be able to find most of the items online, it is not the full range.
What are some good deals you’ve scored at Changi Airport? Share it with us in the comments below!