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8 Dec 2021

Which? reveals the cheapest shops to buy perfumes and aftershaves this Christmas

From Amazon to The Perfume Shop, where can you find the cheapest fragrances?

Perfumes and aftershaves are Christmas list staples, but they can end up being pricey if you buy from the first website or shop you see them in.

Which? has sniffed out the cheapest prices for some of the most popular branded aftershaves and perfumes across six major online retailers, and found astonishing price differences depending on where we shopped.

This Christmas you could save more than £30 on a single fragrance by shopping around for the lowest price.

So, whether you're buying Mugler Angel or Marc Jacobs Daisy Love for her, or Calvin Klein Defy or Hugo Boss Alive for him, read on to find out where you're likely to find the best prices this festive season.

Where can you find the cheapest perfume and aftershave?

Which? compared the prices of 20 of the most popular men's and women's fragrances at Amazon, Boots, John Lewis, Superdrug, The Fragrance Shop and The Perfume Shop.

Our research found Amazon (Amazon.co.uk) was the cheapest overall retailer when looking at the average price of each product between 8 October and 8 November.

Amazon offered the cheapest prices for 15 out of 20 of the products, including (for men) Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau De Toilette 100ml and Ralph Lauren Polo Red Eau De Toilette 75ml, and (for women) Marc Jacobs Daisy Love Eau De Toilette 50ml, Mugler Angel Eau De Parfum Non-Refillable Spray 25ml, and Lancome La Vie Est Belle EDP 50ml.

John Lewis (JohnLewis.com) was the second-cheapest retailer when looking at overall average prices.

It had the best prices for four products: Diesel Eau De Toilette Bad 50ml, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau De Toilette 100ml, Emporio Armani Stronger With You For Men Eau De Toilette 100ml, and Jimmy Choo I Want Choo Eau De Parfum Spray 60ml.

The Perfume Shop was the most expensive overall retailer, charging the highest prices for 12 of the products we looked at. Boots and The Fragrance Shop were most expensive for four products each.

While Superdrug (Superdrug.com) had the lowest price for the Dior Fahrenheit Eau De Toilette For Him 100ml fragrance, it also had the highest prices for nine other products.

Which products had the biggest price differences?

There were eye-watering differences in prices between the most and least expensive retailers for some fragrances.

FragranceCheapest retailerMost expensive retailerPrice difference
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau De Toilette 100mlJohn Lewis - £52.95Superdrug & The Perfume Shop - £84£31.05 (59%)
Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Eau De Toilette 100mlAmazon - £61.43The Perfume Shop - £90£28.57 (47%)
Dolce & Gabbana K Eau De Parfum 100mlAmazon - £62.45Superdrug - £89£26.55 (43%)
Ralph Lauren Polo Red Eau De Toilette 75mlAmazon - £40.35Superdrug & The Perfume Shop - £55£14.65 (36%)

As you can see, you could save a significant amount of money by shopping with the cheaper retailers.

And if you fancied embarking on a perfume mega-spree, buying all 20 products on our list, you'd save £230.52 by shopping with the cheapest retailer, Amazon, rather than the most expensive retailer, The Perfume Shop. That's a 22% difference for exactly the same products.

Watch out for price fluctuations

Our research also found that prices for individual scents fluctuated a lot within the same store - particularly at Amazon.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau De Toilette 100ml, for example, had 10 price changes during the month-long window we looked at. Its lowest price was £52.95, while its highest was £84 - that's a 58.6% price difference.

Olympea by Paco Rabanne Eau De Parfum for Women 80 ml had 11 price changes - the lowest price being £63.50 and the highest £72.50 (14% difference).

If you're unsure whether you're getting a good price, try using a site like PriceRunner or - for Amazon only - CamelCamelCamel, which will allow you to compare past prices with what's being charged today.

Amazon also was the most inconsistent in terms of actually listing the products on its site. Some of the products weren't stocked for a number of consecutive days - which means you might need to check back at a later date if what you're looking for isn't currently listed.

What do the retailers say?

Boots told us it disputes our findings, as they don't take into account other promotions such as its Boots Advantage Card Scheme points events and 'gift with purchase' promotions which were available during the timeframe we looked at. (Our research focused solely on selling prices as listed on retailer websites.) Boots said it constantly reviews its pricing and regularly offers promotions in the run up to Christmas.

Superdrug told us that throughout the year it offers discounts across its fragrance range, with limited flash sales, weekly promotions and monthly special offers. It regularly rotates discounts to ensure as many customers as possible can find their favourite products at a great price.

The Perfume Shop told us: 'At The Perfume Shop we are dedicated to offering our customers competitive pricing on bestselling brands with regular promotional offers both in store and online. At the time of Which?'s research we would have had many other designer brands on offer, as prices can fluctuate due to promotional calendars.'

The Fragrance Shop didn't respond to our request for a comment.

Tips for saving money when shopping for perfume

  1. Shop around - our research uncovered huge differences in prices between online retailers. Make sure you don't settle on the first price you see - browse a few other stores before heading to the checkout.
  2. Be wary of misleading deals - eye-catching savings aren't always all they seem. Shopping around should help you understand what's a good deal and what isn't.
  3. Try refills - for some fragrances you can get refill bottles which you take back to the retailer for a top-up once you're at the end of the bottle. It's cheaper and more sustainable - double win.
  4. Watch out for delivery fees - don't be lured in by retailers with cheap prices but extortionate delivery fees. If you're really looking to keep costs down this Christmas, it might be worth opting for 'click and collect', which is sometimes free and almost always cheaper than home delivery.
  5. Check price history sites - PriceRunner and PriceSpy allow you to compare today's price with previous weeks, so you'll know if you really are getting a good deal.

Find out more:Which? winter sales inside guide