Survey highlights online and cross-border savings on gifts

Price-wary consumers can make major savings on popular Christmas toys and gifts by shopping online or travelling to Northern Ireland, a new survey confirmed today.

Price-wary consumers can make major savings on popular Christmas toys and gifts by shopping online or travelling to Northern Ireland, a new survey confirmed today.

A Christmas pricing survey from the European Consumer Centre (ECC) found popular items – including the children’s toy, Roboraptor, the Desperate Housewives DVD, a Samsung A6 digital camera and a 27-inch Bush Widescreen LCD television – cost less outside the state.

Tina Leonard, manager of ECC Dublin, said the research revealed goods generally cost less in the UK and consumers can save up to €25 on a single gift by turning to the web or travelling to Northern Ireland.

“Shopping online is a great resource which not only saves you time but as this survey also proves saves you money,” she said.

Researchers examined prices in Toymaster, Argos, The Cardphone Warehouse, Golden Discs, Easons and HMV in the state. The ECC’s price survey analysed prices in Northern Ireland through Argos and online at the site www.amazon.co.uk.

A popular children’s toy, Roboraptor, can be purchased on the Amazon site for €117.83 euro, including delivery charges – a saving of €7 compared with Toymaster in Henry Street in Dublin.

The Desperate Housewives DVD is retailing for €54.99 in high street retailer HMV, but it can be bought for €44.7 on the Amazon site.

A Samsung A6 digital camera costs €229.99 in Argos in Dublin, compared with €217.38 in the Argos in Northern Ireland.

A 27-inch Bush Widescreen LCD television costs €749.99 in Argos in Dublin but a shopper could save over €25 by purchasing it in Argos in Northern Ireland for €724.62.

Another possible gift, the book ’Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince’ could be purchased for €13.03 on the internet compared with the Eason’s price of €14.99. The Westlife CD ’Face to Face’ at €18.95 in Golden Discs was €6.27 more expensive than the internet price-tag, while Madonna’s CD ’Confessions on a Dance Floor’ at €19.99 in HMV was €3.18 cheaper than on the Amazon site.

The price-tag on the 36cm Baby Annabell was €19.95 in Toymaster in Henry Street – but cost €2.34 more on Amazon.co.uk. The Star Wars Talking Yoda was also €3.53 cheaper at €39.95 in Toymaster.

Dermot Jewell of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) said the numbers of people travelling to Northern Ireland and the United States for festive shopping has ensured a drop in prices.

“Quite a number of shops are determined to offer prices to keep people here. They know they need to be competitive and keep them shopping here, it is about time, it has been the exodus of shoppers to Northern Ireland and the US that has ensured that. We need that competitive edge. It is starting to drive prices to some degree down,” he said.

Mr Jewell said there were some savings to be made through travelling to Northern Ireland depending on the particular gift.

But he said there were definite savings to be made on the internet.

The consumers rights spokesman warned people to be wary as duty and VAT is charged to bring in an item worth over €45 from abroad.

“This is not being very clearly explained and there were a numbe of examples last year,” he said.

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