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Shopping trips – Part 1: Outlet shopping

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As Singaporeans we are always up for a bargain, right? And if it means travelling hundreds of miles to find one, then so be it!

In the last couple of decades, with the birth of the outlet village, discount shopping has taken off on a massive scale. Now firmly on the tourist map, outlet villages make popular day trips while on vacation.

But are they all they’re cracked up to be and where can you find the best? Budget Direct Insurance has it covered.

The outlet concept

Outlets started as out of town stores where manufacturers sold off slightly damaged goods or last years’ unsold stock. But when demand started to outstrip supply, some manufacturers cottoned on and started making lines specifically for outlets. It’s now big business.

“From 2006 through 2012, the amount of money American shoppers spent at outlet malls increased by 41%, while spending at conventional malls grew by only 9%. There are now some 500 outlet malls in the United States, double the number there were two decades ago, and about 50 more are built each year.”*

Outlet shopping - 3 things to look out for

It’s easy to be swept away by outlet stores and outlet villages. They are usually situated out of town, and you may travelled a fair distance to get there. Anticipation and excitement for a bargain is high!

There are some genuine bargains, with designer brands sold at big discounts but be aware some brands (not all) make goods specifically for outlet stores. Watch the quality.

Don’t be swept away – do you want these goods for the price they are selling them for? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and enjoy. Don’t buy something just because it says it is heavily discounted.

On holiday? Two of the world’s biggest

Bicester Outlet Village, Oxfordshire, UK, is around an hour travelling time from London and is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.

“With 130 designer stores, it is the most successful outlet in the world. While the annual spend per square foot in a typical UK shopping centre is around £300, here it is nearer £2,000 (S$4000).**

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets is located about an hour from New York City and claims to have the largest collection of designer outlets in the world. With around 220 stores you could spend your entire trip there!

Some useful websites

Want more good reads? You'll love these too:
Shopping trips – Part 2: Hong Kong, what to buy and where to go
Shopping trips – Part 3: Shenzhen, getting there and what to buy
Shopping trips – Part 4: Shenzhen, your guide to shopping and relaxing
Shopping trips – Part 5: Tokyo, what to buy and where to go
Shopping trips – Part 6: Seoul, guide to best buys and Gangnam style!
Shopping trips – Part 7: Beijing, what to buy and where to go
Groovy gift shops in Kuala Lumpur. Our top picks.
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