Border Bargains

Online Sales Boom as Swiss Franc Soars

Some people from the city of Konstanz near the Swiss border found themselves a great new business opportunity. Source: DPA
Some people from the city of Konstanz near the Swiss border found themselves a great new business opportunity.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The franc has soared since the Swiss central bank decoupled the currency from the weakening euro at the beginning of the year, making shopping in Germany much more affordable.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Swiss customers save a lot of money by shopping at German websites and having their orders delivered to a German address.
    • A German shopkeeper, Mandy Klein, charges Swiss shoppers only €5 for two weeks of storage.
    • Another entrepreneur delivers packages to Switzerland using special software for Swiss customs declarations.
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  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

If you think Swiss monetary policy isn’t a recipe for happiness, just speak to Mandy Klein from the southern German city of Konstanz.

Ms. Klein, who has a shop near the border with Switzerland, has made a lucrative business out of receiving packages on behalf of Swiss online shoppers.

The fuller her shop is, the stronger Swiss franc must be against the euro. Ever since the Swiss National Bank (SNB) surprisingly announced in January that it would no longer keep the franc at a fixed exchange rate with Europe’s single currency, Ms. Klein’s business started to take off. More than 250 packages are delivered to her shop each day.

Swiss customers save lots of money by shopping at German websites and having their orders delivered to her German address. They shop in euros and benefit from the strong franc, but they also save on customs duty.

When the Swiss order goods worth more than €58 ($61), the Swiss postal service charges them a flat fee of €11 in customs charges on top of an additional 3 percent of the total value of their purchase.

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