USA, the world’s new discount “store”?



As the US Dollar weakened against the Euro, the US is now becoming a favorite shopping heaven for most Europeans, especially during this year’s holiday season.


Since Thanksgiving in November, I’ve been hearing people speaking in different languages especially around New York shopping districts, mostly in French, Italian, German, heavy British accents and probably in Scandinavian dialects. My first thought was “Ah, probably some ordinary tourists! Nothing much!” But, I overheard them more and more in every corners of New York. Looking at their body languages and the way they dressed, these people were definitely not ordinary tourists. They acted like somebody who went out just for shopping but they weren’t locals.


And I said to myself, “Why were there so many European shoppers in town?” French, Italian, German, Spanish and Scandinavian shoppers fully packed the streets of Soho, carrying a dozen of shopping bags in their hands. Obviously, everything they’ve found here are way cheaper compared to the prices in Europe. I overheard two young French ladies saying to each other “C’est fou ça, je veux tout les acheter!”, roughly translated to “This is crazy, I want to buy them all!” and some store associates were practicing their foreign language skills by saying “Bienvenutti” (Welcome) and “Ciao Bella!” (Hello, beautiful) to some Italian girls, or “Wie Geht’s” (How are you?) to some German  shoppers. Myself, I’m quite happy to see this. It’s a reminiscence of my life in Switzerland where those three languages are widely spoken.

And on Sunday morning, my dear hubby showed me an article in Wall Street Journal about this recent trend. He was actually the one who kept telling me about it whenever we went for a shopping spree since early fall this year. We’ve all probably known the recent falling of US Dollar against Euro. The article reported that “in November, the U.S. Dollar hit a record low against the Euro, with 1 Euro buying more than $1.48. For Brits, 1 pound now buys slightly more than $2. And with cheap flights, Europeans say they can nearly break even on their travel expenses with the money they save on clothes and gifts.” 


The article also points out an interesting pattern about these foreign shoppers; “Stores say overseas shoppers aren’t just buying a lot, they’re also showing some distinct spending habits, often different from Americans’. Saks Fifth Avenue says Europeans are snapping up UGG boots, hip with Americans circa 2004. (why those UGG-ly boots??!!). Many Asian shoppers tend to go for the highest-end luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci (or probably Chanel, which wouldn’t surprise me at all! =).”  The majority of Asian shoppers are Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese. And they’re most likely to spend five time more than a typical American shopper! Some Scandinavians also shop for Victoria’s Secret undies and beauty products since they’re not available over there and Canadians are crossing the border just to get a great bargain in every shopping place in the States. Surely, luggage and duffle bags are definitely one of the most popular items for these foreign shoppers to fit everything they’ve bought. *koper mereka pasti uda beranak pinak ;)*

On the other hand, for those who earn US dollar in their income would be having a hard time to afford anything in Europe. Even Gisele Bündchen, the world-renowned supermodel, was said to demand only Euros for her work, which turned out to be a false rumor. If I were her, I would definitely go for it ‘tho ! hehe ;) Sadly, I was told that the Indonesian Rupiah got also weakened along with the falling of US dollar. This could be a good timing to attract and encourage people with higher currency than our Rupiah, to visit and double their spending in Indonesia. 

Here is the price comparison of the five popular items in the US and Europe, taken from Wall Street Journal: *click on thumbnail*


 Sources & images courtesy of:,,