Amazon UK: A Guide for International Shoppers

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Amazon UK is the largest Amazon store in Europe, and the second largest in the world after Amazon in the US. Although based in the UK, it’s popular with shoppers all over Europe but particularly in Ireland, France, Germany, and of course Portugal. It’s also popular with shoppers further afield, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, and even in the United States.

Most products on Amazon.co.uk can be delivered throughout Europe and, even with the cost of postage from the UK included, it’s often cheaper to shop at Amazon than it is to shop at a local store. This is especially true for items like electronics and books, both of which tend to be quite expensive outside of the UK.

Of course, it’s always worth comparing prices – both with local stores and with the different Amazon stores. Amazon UK is normally the cheapest Amazon store in Europe, but Amazon Germany is sometimes cheaper (tip: it’s also available in English). Amazon Spain may also be worth a look, particularly if you’re based in Portugal as there are often good delivery rates to Portugal (often free shipping is available).

For customers based in continental Europe, e.g. Portugal, Amazon Germany and Amazon Spain often have better delivery times as they’re that bit closer geographically.

Another reason to consider Amazon Germany or Amazon Spain, particularly for electronics and particularly if you’re living in Portugal, is the plugs. UK plugs are different, so if you purchase anything electronic from the UK you’ll either need to change the plug or get an adapter.

Amazon UK: Delivery times

Delivery times depend on where you’re located. Taking a pair of Bose 35 noise-cancelling headphones as an example, you can expect the following express delivery times from Amazon UK.

  • Portugal: 1 day
  • Ireland: 1 day
  • France: 1 day
  • Spain: 1 day
  • Germany: 1 day
  • Belgium: 1 day
  • Netherlands: 1 day

UK to Portugal may seem like a very quick delivery, and it is. This is probably due to the product being available at the Amazon Spain warehouse, and Amazon UK being able to ship the order from there.

Products that actually have to ship from the UK will usually take at least 2-3 days to get to most parts of Europe. For an older model of the Bose 35 headphones, which don’t seem to be available at Amazon Spain, delivery times to Portugal are roughly 3-4 days.

Free delivery outside of the UK is rare (except to Ireland)

While Amazon UK offers free delivery on a lot of products that are being shipped within the UK, it’s rare to get free delivery overseas. The exception is Ireland, where free delivery is usually available on orders that are £25 or more in value.

For everywhere else, unfortunately, you’ll probably have to pay for shipping.

Some products only ship within the UK

Unfortunately, some products can only be sent to addresses in the UK. Sometimes this is due to the product (heavy items often can’t be sent abroad) and sometimes it’s just that the seller isn’t willing to ship abroad.

amazon uk can't ship

If this is the case, you’ll either need to find another seller that will ship to you or pick another product that does ship abroad.

Some sellers charge high postage prices

Some sellers will offer free (or incredibly cheap) delivery rates for orders to UK addresses but charge an unjustifiably small fortune for overseas orders. This is just an unfortunate fact of life, and may mean that you’ll have to shop around and find a more reasonable seller. Alternatively, you could use a package forwarding company.

Package forwarding companies provide you with a postal address within the UK. They will then receive your package and then forward it onto your international address at a more reasonable price (most have a pricing calculator where you can estimate the costs in advance). 

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