Shipping VS shopping: Should you ship your belongings or buy new goods when relocating globally?

Apr 6, 2022 | Uncategorized

When moving country, there are thousands of things to keep track of and get done before the big move. One of the questions we are asked most frequently is whether to ship all the furniture and other personal items, or to buy new things locally once you have arrived.

There is no simple answer to this question. There are pros and cons to both options. Depending on where you are moving to and from, the cost of shipping all of the contents of your home might be higher than the cost of selling your existing belongings and buying new goods locally. In other cases, it might be more affordable and sensible to invest in reliable shipping services. If your move is short term, is it maybe more cost effective to pay for storage at your point of origin and rent furniture at your destination?

If you have a lot of sentimental items, it’s probably going to make you happier to relocate your things to your new home, but if you have no emotional attachments to items then maybe jump online at check out the furniture prices where you are going. You also need to take into account will you be renting for a while, or buying a home straight away so do you maybe need short term furniture before you buy and furnish your dream home. The destination your are heading to also needs to be considered, what are stock levels like there, will it take 16 weeks to get a new couch delivered due to supply chain issues in that country, or are all household items readily available? Sometimes its easier to run through your options with your relocation agent to make sure you pick the best choice suited to your specific circumstances.

Global shipping services are known to be a little difficult to navigate at the moment. The impact of Covid-19 on supply chains coupled with previous canal backlogs and the Russia-Ukraine war’s disruption of the shipping and air freight industry, has driven the cost of shipping through the roof. So, what is the best option for you when relocating?

Let’s take a look at the pros, cons and costs of transporting your goods locally versus buying locally.

Pros: Shipping VS Shopping

Let’s start with the biggest advantages of shipping your personal items when emigrating:

  • Moving to a new country can be a scary and overwhelming experience. The comfort of having your familiar furniture and home goods around you once you move into your new living space can help some feel at home. If you already own a fully furnished house’s worth of belongings, why give that all up?
  • If you ship your personal goods with the help of a professional relocation company, you can rest assured that you will have everything you need as soon as you move into your new home. Not having to buy everything new can save you a lot of time, money and effort.
  • Shipping your personal belongings might save you money in the long run, especially when it comes to more expensive items such as electrical goods. Selling your trusty washing machine, stove and television may seem like the easiest option at the time, but it is unlikely that the money you’ll get in your pocket from selling these items will cover the cost of buying new high-quality items once you move into your new home.

Now for the biggest advantages of selling your belongings and buying new goods upon arrival:

  • Quick fix. Selling your belongings is a quick and easy way to lessen the load of things that need to be moved. As a bonus, the money you make from selling your stuff can go towards the costs to purchase the things you need for your new home.
  • New opportunities. If you’re not feeling particularly sentimental about your furniture, selling your home goods might be just what you need to get a fresh start in your new home. Maybe you’ve always wanted to invest in new furniture, or maybe you feel cluttered by the number of things you’ve hoarded over the years. This is your chance to flip to a new page!
  • If you don’t have to accommodate a house full of furniture, you have a lot more freedom as to where you choose to stay in your new country of residence. Perhaps you don’t want to buy a house immediately, and you want to rent for a while to get a feel for the place. If you don’t have a container full of personal items following you around, you can choose to stay in rentals or other short-term accommodation options until you are ready to start building your own nest.

Cons: Shipping VS Shopping

To flip the coin, let’s look at some of the disadvantages to consider when deciding between shipping and shopping. First up, the cons of international shipping:

  • Customs and travel requirements. There are plenty of technical requirements to keep in mind when shipping your personal goods overseas. Certain items may not be allowed to leave or enter certain countries. Luckily, these headaches can all be avoided by working with a reliable and reputable moving company.
  • Some of your electrical items may not work in your new country of residence. For one, different countries make use of different electrical outlets. While you can pay an electrician to change the plugs on your items, this can be overly expensive and you run the risk of having troubles in the future, for example not being able to get your appliances serviced or fixed should they break.
  • Yes, we know that the cost of shipping was also on the pros list! Depending on your moving company, the country of origin and destination, and the size and weight of your goods, the cost of international shipping can be steep. In most cases, however, you pay for the space occupied in the shipping container instead of the weight of the goods. You can therefore save a lot of money by being strategic with which items you ship and enlisting professional services to help you maximise packing space.

On to the disadvantages of shopping for new items locally:

  • Plenty of big expenses. Firstly, buying everything new can be heavy on your pocket. Again, to make the best decision for your situation, you’ll need to carefully compare the cost of shipping with the cost of shopping for new stuff. While shipping can be an expensive route to go down, you have no guarantee that refurnishing your house at local rates won’t be even more expensive.
  • Time and effort. Buying new items in your new country of residence. If you are unfamiliar with the local retail market, it can be overwhelming to find good quality furniture and home goods at affordable prices. Plus, while you are shopping for new items, you’ll need to put up with living in the chaos of a half-furnished house.

The cost of international shipping

Right now, international shipping rates are high. Between the coronavirus pandemic’s ongoing effects on global supply chains, the shortage in global shipping containers and the delays in major shipping ports around the world, international shipping services are a little different from usual. Further to this, the cost of international shipping can range widely depending on a range of factors, including the volume or weight of the goods, the type of transport, the distance of the journey, the customs duties and service charges of the destination port, and the time of year. Additional shipping costs such as container inspection fees, shipping container insurance, general rate increase (GRI), inland delivery charges and quarantine fees must also be taken into consideration.

The cost of international shipping can vary widely. Depending on the volume of goods you want to ship, you could benefit from opting for a part-load shipment, which means that you share the space of a single container with other clients instead of paying for the use of an entire container. Then, you also need to choose between sea freight and air freight shipping. Whereas sea freight shipping offers a lower cost with a lower level of carbon emissions, air freight shipping is much faster.

At the end of the day, your budget, moving timeline and personal preferences will dictate whether you should ship your personal belongings or sell your items and buy new things for your house upon arrival. The list of factors to consider is long, but, with the right support, you can take all the stress out of your global relocation journey!

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