Where are Hermès Bags Least Expensive After the Recent Price Increase 2024?

Paris is always a good idea, right? Well, certainly when it comes to luxury shopping – especially involving sought-after orange boxes from Hermès. On the first shopping day in 2024, Hermès greeted New Year clients with much-anticipated price increases in the EU and United States. 

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This begs the question, though, where can you score Hermès goods at the best price  – Paris or the United States?

How Have Prices Changed in the EU and US

Interestingly, as prices surged in Paris, U.S. boutiques also imposed increases. The Birkin 25 in Togo rose by 6.8% in Europe, and 9.6% in the United States. Meanwhile, for the Kelly 25 in Togo, it increased by 13% in Europe, and 3.7% in the States. This trend perhaps suggests a nearing alignment of prices between geographies.

However, dig a little deeper and it appears the final price tags still differ, at least for travelers from the United States.

Read also: US Hermès Price Increase 2024

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With some handbag math and a stroke of lottery luck, American shoppers still may find Paris shopping a bargain for Birkins and Kellys. Overall prices are slightly lower, even before factoring in VAT refunds (or U.S. taxes and duty).

Read also: Hermès Is Still A Bargain In Paris For Americans

Let’s start with the coveted Birkin 25 in Togo and the Kelly 25 in Togo Retourne as examples. Following the recent price adjustment, the B25 in Togo boasts a EU price tag of €8,600. At the January 9, 2024 exchange rate of €1=$1.09, that is the equivalent of $9,397. Stateside, that same Birkin now commands a hefty $10,400, plus applicable sales tax. As a result, purchasing the B25 in Paris can save you at least $1000.

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The same is true for the K25, except the Paris savings are more impressive. Priced at €9,100, that converts to the U.S. equivalent of $9,944, using the January 9, 2024 exchange rate. In the United States, the K25 Togo sells for $11,300 (plus sales tax). 

Handbag Math Calculations

The handbag math calculations aren’t done yet, however. Price is not the only factor driving savings. For a more complete picture, we need to take into account VAT, U.S. duties, and U.S. state sales tax. Currently, Americans shopping in Paris can benefit from an approximate refund of around 10% of the bag’s price. Meanwhile, when shopping in the U.S. buyers are subject to an additional approximate 10% in local and state sales tax.

Now before rushing to book flights to Paris, a crucial point – these calculations don’t consider U.S. re-entry duties. You’re required to declare overseas purchases. There’s an $800 exemption, yet beyond that, expect varying duty rates from 3% to over 12%. Occasionally, these fees might be waived at the discretion of the customs officer. However, Americans should expect U.S. duty charges. 

Read also: Travel Tips from Paris: Hermès Prices, VAT and Customs

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For the Birkin 25 in Togo leather, priced at €8,600, an American shopper abroad in Europe could typically receive a VAT refund, generally around 10% of the purchase price. In euros, that’s €860, or approximately $939. Subtracting this from $9,397 would make the effective price for an American in Paris approximately $8,460. 

Now, let’s contrast that $8,460 with what that bag would cost in the United States today – $10,400 plus an additional approximate 10% in local and state sales tax. So if we break it down entirely, $11,440 (U.S. price including sales tax) – $8,460 (Paris price with VAT refund) = $2,980 (savings). This results in an approximately 26% lower effective price in this scenario. 

In other words, you might save nearly $3K by buying in Paris (assuming the kind and generous customs agent forgives any U.S. duty). Numbers (and savings) will vary depending what, if any, customs taxes are assessed.

Looked at through a different Hermès lens, you could “upgrade” that Paris purchase to a Birkin 30 in Barenia Faubourg leather in Europe, leaving you with some change to spare. Something to ponder, perhaps?

Applying the same calculations to the Kelly 25 in Togo Retourne, the cost of buying in Europe is as follows – €9,100 – €910 (VAT refund) = €8190 = $8,949

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The same bag currently will set you back $11,300 in the United States, plus tax (10%), totaling $12,430. Therefore, the current savings that can be had in Europe are as follows:

$12,430 (US price) – $8,949 (Paris price) = $3,481.  As a result, you can benefit from a 28% saving on the Kelly. 

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Although the savings aren’t quite as substantial as they were in 2023, this simple formula underscores the value of shopping in Paris. Despite the price hikes and nuances in currency fluctuations, shoppers armed with both handbag math and an understanding of potential duties can still find considerable savings in Europe. Moreover, beyond the financial aspect, the thrill of scoring your dream bag in the City of Light is an experience that remains undeniably appealing. 

Published: January 13th, 2024
Updated: January 17th, 2024

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