Greetings to my visitors from the United Kingdom! In this article, I will provide you with the most solid and correct information possible for musicians in the UK who want to buy musical instruments, equipment and accessories from the best musical instruments company in the universe, Thomann!
In this website, I combine my musical instruments business experience with my customer journey knowledge and I try really hard to put out the most valuable content for my visitors.
I have received over 100000 organic visitors since I have started this website and my visitors from the UK has been always in the top 4 countries along with the USA, Canada and Turkey.
For this reason, just like in my other top performing articles for musicians in the USA and Canada (Buying From Thomann Ships to USA & Canada) and in Turkey (Thomann’dan Nasıl Alışveriş Yapılır?), I would also like to introduce the best MI company in the universe to my visitors in the UK as well as would like to provide you with the most detailed and accurate buying guide from Thomann after Brexit.
As many of you probably already know, Thomann is a German musical instruments store located in Germany.
What most people are now aware of is that Thomann is the 2nd largest company and the fastest growing one in the musical instruments industry.
Here’s a quick introduction for those who have never purchased anything before from Thomann company.
Thomann was founded in 1954 in Germany as a family business in a conventional physical store and has become one of the biggest musical instruments stores on the planet today!
Currently, they have over 100,000 products in stock, employ 1700 employees and serve almost 14 million customers worldwide from 120 different countries!
This data from 2018 shows the annual revenues of giant musical instruments company in the world. According to this data, Thomann had $956,414,280 in revenue in 2017 which places the company in the 2nd position just after Guitar Center (founded in 1959) which had $2,140,000,000.
So What Makes Thomann Special?
If you already have a look at the data, you will notice that Guitar Center made this revenue with 11,000 employees located in 430 stores all across the United States. What a waste of resources! But what about Thomann?
Thomann made almost half of Guitar Center‘s revenue with only 1208 employees and from only a single location!
This clearly shows how progressive and efficient Thomann has become during recent years. Their passionate approach to customers has yielded magnificent results.
Does Thomann Ship to the UK?
The short answer is always, YES! Thomann has been always able to ship products to the UK before or after Brexit. But now with some differences in the operations.
Before the UK left the European Union, buying from Thomann in the UK was as just identical to in any other EU countries. You would simply go to the Thomann website, preferably register an account and once you have selected your country as GB, it would tell you the exact price with added VAT amount, plus shipping fees based on the value of the items.
A couple of years ago, when the UK was considered just another EU country, you would have to pay a 10€ shipping fee for orders that cost below 199€. Orders over 199€ were eligible for free shipping.
It would take 3-4 days for your items to be delivered to your address.
Now things are becoming a bit blurry for UK buyers. But hopefully, we are going to clear these things up here in this article.
What Has Changed with UK Orders?
After Brexit, UK has been considered as just another 3rd country from Thomann‘s perspective. This confused many people in the beginning as they had noticed very low prices (excluding VAT) on Thomann.
Pre-Brexit, you would add an item to your cart with included VAT amount and you would also pay for shipping fee based on the total value of the items.
Most people in the UK are still confused and also disappointed with this new operational model. However, to be honest this has been what the rest of the world have to go through for years when buying from Thomann.
In my buying guide article for my Turkish visitors, I was talking about ordering from Thomann. An almost decade ago, Turkish buyers would buy items from the EU but they used to never be able to guess what would happen to them in terms of taxes, customs fees or even the amount of bribes. 🙂 Fortunately, it’s not the case anymore and they can buy from Thomann by paying VAT and additional taxes when they receive their order!
Now, this is almost the exact situation for UK buyers, with one difference though. As you may already know, Thomann cooperates with UPS. For some countries (just like the example below for Turkish buyers), when the parcel arrives in a country, it is handled by a local post. Then when the delivery man arrives at your address, they will charge you for VAT + additional tax based on the value of the items (unless you do not exceed the threshold value for weight and total price).
For UK buyers, UPS will still handle the logistics as well as customs operations when your order arrives in the UK. UPS is a private company and people have been worrying about the handling fees as it still sounds not really clear about on what basis they charge customers.
Thomann Shipping Fees for the UK
When you buy from the Thomann website as a UK buyer, you will have to pay an £8 shipping fee if your order value is below £135.
Orders over £135 are eligible for free shipping!
You should also be careful about the weight of your orders. Items should not exceed 31 kg as the special forwarders that Thomann is cooperating with can not deal with the additional paperwork and customs operations and they have suspended deliveries to the UK.
Fortunately, Thomann is working on a solution to enable UK customers to buy heavier items such as pianos, PA equipment…etc
VAT and Handling Fees / Thomann UK Reviews
One of the most confusing part for most people is paying VAT! I still see some Thomann UK reviews in which people complain about paying VAT 🙂
Value Added Tax has been always paid in any situation. Before Brexit, since UK was considered as an EU state, VAT was already included in the price you see on the Thomann webpage!
So there’s nothing wrong with paying the VAT. 🙂
As mentioned above, for orders below £135, you also pay an £8 shipping fee. According to Thomann, they can charge VAT within their website if the order is below £135.
Let’s have a look at a real example;
Orders Below £135
Buying a Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series from Thomann in the UK
In this first example, I have chosen Thomann‘s exclusive brand, Harley Benton.
As you can see in the screenshot, I have added a beautiful yet highly affordable Tele clone, Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series.
Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series: £105
Shipping to Great Britain: £8
VAT (20%): £105 * 0.2 = £21
Yes, this is what you have to pay as the total, that’s it! No additional fee will have to be paid upon delivery.
Orders Above £135
This part is a bit tricky and also a bit like a grey area in terms of “handling fees” which is charged by UPS.
When your order’s total value exceeds £135, you will not pay 20% VAT on Thomann’s website, instead, this will be also collected by UPS.
According to Thomann, for orders that exceed £135, Government Charges will be collected by UPS. This consists of 20% VAT, a small amount of paperwork fee (around 2.5% to 3.5% based on customer feedback) and also a UPS service fee which is a minimum of £11.50.
This last UPS service and handling fee are the most confusing. Because there are no clear instructions as to on what basis they collect it as a minimum amount. So what is the maximum? Or do they base this on the category of the product in the customs tariff measures?
*Unfortunately, this is not really clear. In order to clarify this, I have also contacted UPS and I will be updating this article accordingly.
However, things are not as bad as they sound! Just relax! People are still ordering from Thomann in the UK after Brexit. And base real customer experiences, these examples below will most likely identical or very similar to what you will experience.
Let’s have another example with Harley Benton’s popular 7-string electric guitar here.
Buying a Harley Benton Amarok-7 BKBL Flame Burst from Thomann in the UK
When your order exceeds £135, you will not see any VAT added to your order when you click on the “Go to Checkout” section.
As it’s over £135, it’s free shipping as well.
Harley Benton Amarok-7 BKBL Flame Burst: £425
Shipping to Great Britan: £0
VAT (20%): £105 * 0.2 = £85
UPS Handling / Brokerage Fee: £11.5
Import Fees: £425 * 0.0325 = £14
Buying a Seagull Artist Mosaic EQ from Thomann in the UK
Note that these numbers are estimated ones, the total prices may differ (more or less).
Is It Really Worth Buying from Thomann in the UK?
As you can see from the real customer experiences, I think it’s almost a hassle-free operation. As I have mentioned, there’s only one grey area that UPS interprets which is the import fees section.
*Unfortunately, I don’t have enough data to provide examples for different product categories. But I have already contacted UPS to find out if they apply any customs tariffs on specific musical instrument categories and will update this article if I hear anything. So stay tuned!
To me, this kind of logistic operations reminds me of what other buyers in third countries from Thomann‘s perspective have been going through.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to being able to understand if it would be worth it for a specific case.
If you are able to buy a particular product in your local stores or online stores at reasonable price levels, you don’t need to order it from Thomann. However, Thomann offers way more opportunities than any local store!
Just to remind you, Thomann is the number 1 musical instruments company in the universe. You may say “But you have just provided some data up there, they are after Guitar Center!?“, yes but don’t miss that important point.
Thomann is still the best company in the musical instruments business with the efficiency that they have been able to prove from a single location. You will see that in the future, they will outnumber any company in the industry and I won’t be surprised. 🙂
Also, do not forget to check out their incredible line of exclusive brands and direct imports that will almost always give you high value/money purchases regardless of your location!
Last but not least, even though it seems a bit confusing to order from Thomann in the UK, Thomann has good news for you! Thomann has been working on new solutions to provide you with the last total price on the checkout page which includes every cost. So hopefully, this will be way easier for UK buyers!
I hope you have enjoyed this informative article. If you ever have an experience with Thomann in the UK, I would also love to include your story here and would be really glad to hear if I were ever able to help you with your (first?) purchase from Thomann!
Many thanks for your time,