Online Shopping in Israel - A Popular Trend
Hebrew: קניות באינטרנט בארץ ובחו"ל
Click, click, click! Israelis love to shop online. Supermarket shopping sites like Mega, Shufersal and Rami Levi are ideal options for career minded families who work long hours and never seem make it to the store. Buying clothes online from shopping sites is becoming ever popular and in fact in February 2018 it was announced that as a result in the surge of online shopping, retail clothing stores, in Israel, have reported an 18 percent drop in sales. Remember when ordering from Chinese sites like AliExpress, the sizing is different. Chinese sizes are much smaller and many local consumers have landed up with merchandise they can only dream of fitting into. So far, we have not experienced shoe sizing issues on the Chinese shopping sites. While some sites offer international, worldwide shipping, not all of them deliver to Israel. Delivery charges may apply for those that do.
Local Israeli websites let you purchase fruit, vegetables, local and imported groceries, alcohol, furniture, airline tickets, vacation packages and even car insurance are plentiful. A quick Google search will get you results. Compare prices of electronics and appliances on websites like Zap. Be careful of auction sites and group purchasing sites. Make sure you read the fine print, customer ratings and reviews. The washing machine at a greatly reduced price, maybe refurbished, last years model or a showroom item.
Shopping sites selling brand name watches at low prices - beware, they could be knock-offs. Mobile phones are often reconditioned. Check guarantees.
Fashion Knock-offs from China
Despite claims of authenticity, those Adidas sport shoes, the Diesel jeans for $30 and the Ralph Lauren polo shirts are most likely knock-offs too.
Import charges, taxes and VAT
- Personal imports up to $75 - there are no taxes
- Personal imports from $75 - $500, no customs tax will be levied but VAT and Purchase Tax may apply
- Any personal imports over $500 are subject to all taxes, customs, VAT and purchase tax.
- Any import with a value of more than $1,000 will require the services of an import agent
Customs & Handling Fees
Having your purchases delivered by regular, snail mail, can be tedious and you may be tempted to have your purchases shipped by courier services like Fedex, DHL and UPS. Beware! There is a good chance that your parcel will be opened and if it is, you will be charged a handling fee and of course any taxes that might be owing. Often the handling fee is more than the value of the item.
Tips for Buying Groceries Online
There is no online grocery shopping in English. Ask a friend to help with your first few orders. You'll get the hang of it quickly and learn new Hebrew words and spelling at the same time. When purchasing your groceries online, compare prices based on weight (per 100g), per volume (per 100ml) or even per length (per meter). A pack of 36 rolls of toilet paper maybe more expensive than a pack of 24 when you compare the price per meter.