Why is it Cheaper to Buy Luxury Goods in Hawaii – Surprise 2023

If you’re planning a luxury shopping spree, you might want to consider booking a trip to Hawaii. You may have heard that luxury goods are cheaper in Hawaii than on the mainland, and it’s true. But why is it cheaper to buy luxury goods in Hawaii?

One reason is that Hawaii has a lower sales tax rate than many other states. The state sales tax rate is currently 4%, and local jurisdictions can add up to 0.5% to that. In Honolulu/Waikiki, the total sales tax rate comes out to 4.5%. This may not seem like a huge difference, but when you’re buying an expensive item, even a small percentage can add up to significant savings.

Another reason luxury goods are cheaper in Hawaii is that many luxury retailers combine Hawaii and Guam into their own special pricing zone. This means that prices for luxury goods in Hawaii are often lower than on the mainland or in other parts of Asia. It’s not entirely clear why this is the case, but it could be due to a combination of factors, including lower shipping costs and a desire to attract more tourists to Hawaii.

Why is it Cheaper to Buy Luxury Goods in Hawaii: Tax Laws

If you’re wondering why luxury goods tend to be cheaper in Hawaii, one of the main reasons is the state’s tax laws. Hawaii has a unique tax structure that can contribute to lower prices on high-end items. Here’s a closer look at the two taxes that are most relevant to luxury shopping in Hawaii:

General Excise Tax

The General Excise Tax (GET) is a tax on business activities in Hawaii. It is similar to a sales tax, but it is applied at every level of the production chain, not just at the final point of sale. This means that businesses must pay the GET on all goods and services they purchase, regardless of whether they are reselling them or using them for their own purposes. The GET rate in Hawaii is 4%, which is lower than the sales tax rates in many other states.

Transient Accommodation Tax

The Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) is a tax on hotel and lodging accommodations in Hawaii. Visitors to Hawaii pay this tax on top of the price of their hotel room or vacation rental. The TAT rate in Hawaii is currently 10.25%. While this tax doesn’t directly affect the price of luxury goods, it does contribute to Hawaii’s overall reputation as an expensive destination. This reputation may make luxury retailers more likely to offer discounts or special pricing in order to attract shoppers.

Overall, Hawaii’s tax laws can help explain why luxury goods tend to be cheaper in the state. The combination of a lower GET rate and the potential for lower prices on accommodations may make it easier for luxury retailers to offer discounts and deals to shoppers. So if you’re looking to score a deal on high-end fashion or accessories, Hawaii might just be the place to do it.

Luxury Goods in Hawaii

When it comes to luxury shopping, Hawaii is a popular destination for many reasons. In this section, we’ll explore why it’s cheaper to buy luxury goods in Hawaii and the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

The High-End Retail Market in Hawaii

Hawaii has a thriving high-end retail market, with a wide range of luxury brands available. From Louis Vuitton to Bottega Veneta, many of the world’s top luxury brands have stores in Hawaii. These brands are often able to offer lower prices in Hawaii due to the state’s tax structure. Hawaii’s sales tax is currently 4%, which is significantly lower than many other states in the US. This means that luxury brands are able to offer their products at a lower price point in Hawaii, making it an attractive destination for luxury shoppers.

Tourism and Luxury Goods in Hawaii

Why is it Cheaper to Buy Luxury Goods in Hawaii

Hawaii is also a popular tourist destination, with millions of visitors each year. Many of these visitors are looking to purchase luxury goods while they’re in Hawaii, and this demand helps to drive down prices. Luxury brands are able to offer lower prices in Hawaii because they know that tourists are willing to pay a premium for their products. This creates a competitive market for luxury goods in Hawaii, which benefits consumers.

In addition to the lower prices, luxury shopping in Hawaii also offers a unique experience. Many of the luxury stores in Hawaii are located in beautiful outdoor shopping centers, which offer stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. This makes luxury shopping in Hawaii a truly special experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Factors Contributing to Lower Prices

There are several factors that make it cheaper to buy luxury goods in Hawaii. Here are some of the reasons why:

Lower Taxes and Tariffs

One of the main reasons why luxury goods are cheaper in Hawaii is because the state has lower taxes and tariffs compared to other states in the US. For example, Hawaii has a general excise tax of 4%, which is much lower than the sales tax in other states like California, which can go up to 9.5% in some cities. This means that luxury goods are generally cheaper in Hawaii because they are not subject to as much tax.

Competition Among Retailers

Another reason why luxury goods are cheaper in Hawaii is because of the competition among retailers. There are many luxury retailers in Hawaii, and they all compete with each other to attract customers. As a result, they often offer lower prices than they would in other states to entice customers to buy from them. This competition among retailers can lead to lower prices for luxury goods overall, making it more affordable for consumers to purchase them.

Tourist Discounts

Finally, Hawaii is a popular tourist destination, and many luxury retailers offer discounts to tourists. This is because tourists are more likely to buy luxury goods while on vacation, and retailers want to encourage them to shop at their stores. These discounts can range from a few dollars off to significant discounts of up to 30% or more. As a result, tourists can often find luxury goods at lower prices than they would in other states.


Why is it Cheaper to Buy Luxury Goods in Hawaii

Why is it better to buy luxury items in Hawaii?

Luxury items are cheaper in Hawaii because luxury retailers combine Hawaii and Guam into their own special pricing zone since they don’t really fall within the Mainland U.S. or Mainland Asia. Additionally, Hawaii’s tax is much lower than the mainland U.S.

Is shopping in Hawaii tax free?

No, shopping in Hawaii is not tax-free. Hawaii has a general excise tax (GET) of 4% on all sales of tangible personal property, which includes most goods sold in Hawaii. However, some items such as groceries, prescription drugs, and medical equipment are exempt from the GET.

Is shopping more expensive in Hawaii?

Yes, shopping in Hawaii is generally more expensive, especially for food and daily commodities. According to a 2019 study by 24/7 Wall St., Hawaii has the highest food prices in the U.S. 

Why do people shop in Hawaii?

People shop in Hawaii for several reasons, including the availability of unique and authentic Hawaiian products, the lower prices of luxury items, and the tax-free shopping for visitors to Hawaii. Additionally, shopping is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike, with many shopping centers and markets throughout the islands.

Is YSL cheaper in Paris or Hawaii?

YSL is generally cheaper in Paris than in Hawaii. YSL products are cheaper in Paris due to the Euro exchange rate, the EU VAT tax refund, no sales, import, or duty tax, and bi-annual sales. However, YSL charges the same price for its products regardless of location, so finding sales or discounts is key to getting a good deal.

What island in Hawaii has the best luxury?

Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island) has the best luxury according to a 2022 survey by HAWAIʻI Magazine readers. The Hilton Waikoloa Village was voted the best luxury hotel on the island, and the island is known for its high-end properties such as the Four Seasons Hualalai and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.


So, why is it cheaper to buy luxury goods in Hawaii? As we’ve seen, there are a few factors at play. Firstly, the state’s lower sales tax rate means that luxury items are generally less expensive than in many other parts of the United States. Additionally, luxury retailers often combine Hawaii and Guam into their own special pricing zone, which can result in even more savings for shoppers.

It’s worth noting that not all luxury goods are cheaper in Hawaii, and prices can still vary depending on the specific item and retailer. However, if you’re planning a trip to the islands and have your eye on a particular luxury item, it’s definitely worth doing some research to see if you can score a better deal than you would back home.

Of course, it’s not just the lower prices that make Hawaii a great place to shop for luxury goods. The state’s beautiful beaches, warm weather, and unique culture also make it an attractive destination for tourists and shoppers alike. Whether you’re looking to splurge on a designer handbag or simply want to soak up some sun and scenery, Hawaii is definitely worth considering.

Disclosure: We only recommend products we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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