The Globe Shopper Index

33 European and 25 Asia Pacific cities ranked in the quest to be the world’s best shopping destination.


The Globe Shopper Index rates cities on five categories important to travellers: Shops, Affordability, Convenience, Hotels & Transport, and Culture & Climate. These categories are, in turn, broken down into key indicators—the shopping priorities.

Globe Shopper Index rankings


Scores are based on both quantitative data (for example, average daily hours of sunshine) and qualitative assessments (such as convenience of using a foreign language). To make indicators directly comparable across cities, the values were turned into standardised scores on a scale of 0 to 100. They were then aggregated into category scores and an overall score.

My Perfect City provides a weighted index ranking based on the user’s personally-created shopper profile. This profile consists of a number of points assigned to one, some, or all five of the index categories: Shops, Affordability, Convenience, Hotels & Transport, and Culture & Climate. These points are generated from the level of importance you assign to the subcategories (such as "Malls & boutiques" in Shops).

European cities
Rank City Name Overall score graph
1 London 67.3
=2 Madrid 67.1
=2 Barcelona 67.1
4 Paris 65.5
5 Rome 62.9
6 Berlin 62.3
7 Lisbon 61.6
8 Amsterdam 61.3
9 Prague 59.7
10 Budapest 59.6
11 Milan 59.3
12 Vienna 59.1
13 Istanbul 58.4
14 Dublin 57.6
15 Brussels 56.8
16 Athens 56.2
17 Munich 55.5
18 Copenhagen 54.1
19 Moscow 53.9
=20 Hamburg 53.4
=20 Stockholm 53.4
22 Lyon 53.3
23 Bratislava 52.3
=24 Bucharest 52.2
=24 Sofia 52.2
=26 Edinburgh 51.4
=26 Kiev 51.4
28 Warsaw 50.9
29 St. Petersburg 49.1
30 Helsinki 48.2
31 Belgrade 43.6
32 Oslo 43.1
33 Geneva 41.0
"=" indicates tie


The Economist Intelligence Unit collected data from a variety of sources between May and July 2011 (for Europe), and January and February 2012 (for Asia Pacific). Wherever possible, EIU used publicly available data from official sources, such as city tourism bureaus and city airports. EIU also used data from contributors who collected prices at shopping establishments across Europe and Asia Pacific, as well as travel sources such as Lonely Planet® and Expedia®.

A more detailed methodology can be found in the European and Asia Pacific reports.

Asia Pacific cities
Rank City Name Overall score graph
1 Hong Kong 68.5
2 Kuala Lumpur 65.1
3 Shanghai 63.1
4 Beijing 60.7
5 Singapore 60.2
6 Sydney 58.4
7 Bangkok 57.1
8 Tokyo 56.4
9 Seoul 54.8
10 Delhi 52.8
11 Manila 51.5
12 Taipei 51.2
13 Auckland 50.0
14 Bangalore 49.6
15 Guangzhou 48.4
16 Mumbai 48.3
17 Jakarta 45.7
18 Osaka 45.1
19 Ho Chi Minh City 44.9
20 Busan 44.8
21 Nagoya 38.2
22 Colombo 36.2
23 Dhaka 35.7
24 Karachi 34.1
25 Yangon 29.9
"=" indicates tie



The number and variety of shops and brands to be found at any destination are essential criteria for the serious shopper.

Culture sub-indicators
Malls & boutiques
Number of shops and number of major malls within a 20-km radius of the city centre.
International brands
Number and variety of leading local and international brands.
Seasonal sales
Duration of sales seasons (in weeks per year).
Genuine (as opposed to counterfeit) goods
Qualitative assessment of the amount of counterfeit goods in department stores, shops and markets.


Convenience and ease are essential parts of an enjoyable shopping experience.

Culture sub-indicators
Use of foreign languages
Convenience of using a UN language (Arabic; Chinese; English; French; Russian; Spanish) in the principal shopping areas.
Shopping hours
Number of hours major shops open on Sundays (or equivalent), and the average number of hours high street shops are open Monday–Saturday.
Price negotiation
Likelihood of negotiating a discount at a department store, a boutique store and a market stall.
Qualitative assessment of the prevalence of violence and petty crime, as well as the threat of military conflict, political unrest and terrorist attacks.

CultureCulture & climate

Major cities offer a wealth of cultural experiences and sightseeing opportunities, although climate can vary, so it is best to be well prepared for the shopping season according to destination.

Culture sub-indicators
Attractions & UNESCO sites
Number of Lonely Planet ® sights within the city and the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites (historical city centres receive double points) within a 30-km radius.
International cuisine
Number and variety of restaurants.
Popular events
Qualitative assessment of the availability of sporting and cultural events.
Strictness of visa regulations
Score based on the number of nationalities that require a visa to enter the country, and the validity of the visa for entry to other countries in the region.
Agreeability of climate
Score based on the number of wet, uncomfortably hot and uncomfortably cold months per year, and the average daily hours of sunshine.


For any shopper, whether they are looking for the latest fashions, a high-end camera or a handcrafted souvenir, getting the most for one’s budget will always be a high priority.

Culture sub-indicators
Exchange-rate stability
Change in value of local currency, measured against a basket of currencies (US dollar; yen; euro; renminbi; rouble) over the last two years.
Average cost for three options: a three-course meal at a Hilton® restaurant (or equivalent); a drink at that restaurant (aggregated average price of a pint of beer, a bottle of water and a glass of wine); and a Big Mac® meal (or equivalent).
Average cost for two accommodation options: a room at a 4-star hotel and a room at a 2-star hotel.
Shopper favourites
Cost of a representative sample of consumer products.
City transport
Average cost of a taxi (initial meter charge plus one km) and a bus (single-ride ticket) in the city centre.

HotelsHotels & transport

Luxury hotels, a choice of flights and efficient transport are, for most, welcome aspects of any international shopping trip.

Culture sub-indicators
Quality hotels
Annual average hotel occupancy rate and qualitative assessment of upscale hotels within the city, based on the number of 4-and 5-star hotels, weighted by the city size.
Airports & flights
Total number of arriving and departing flights in 2009/2010 at all airports linked to the city.
Convenient transport to city centre
Convenience of bus and rail links and the distance to the main international airport.
Dependable city transport
Assessment of the quality of the public transport system, based on the availability of underground transport and the frequency of night buses on weekends.



The Explorer shopper-types enjoy discovery, be it of the modern or historic kind. They are seeking to bring home with them a sense of the city and the culture they have visited.

  • Looks for

  • UNESCO sites
  • Boutiques
  • Use of foreign languages
  • Popular events

ExplorerCool Hunter

The Cool Hunter shopper-types are looking to stay ahead of the latest trends and want access to the newest lines from the most fashionable brands.

  • Looks for

  • Malls & boutiques
  • Attractions
  • Quality hotels
  • International cuisine

ExplorerPerfect Planner

The Perfect Planner shopper-types are looking for a guaranteed good time. They want to be accommodated and entertained at their convenience, with reliable transport and safe streets. Their desire in planning their holiday is to minimise the chance of disappointment.

  • Looks for

  • Hotels & transport
  • Use of foreign languages
  • Safety
  • Strictness of visa regulations

ExplorerBrand Spotter

The Brand Spotter shopper-types will have a mental list of the brands they are interested in and will look for a shopping venue that will provide them with an international range of brands for comparison.

  • Looks for

  • International brands
  • Genuine (as opposed to counterfeit) goods
  • Quality hotels
  • Seasonal sales

ExplorerDeal Tracker

The Deal Tracker shopper-types are less concerned with luxury, convenience or new experiences and more with finding a way to make their money go further.

  • Looks for

  • Affordability
  • Seasonal sales
  • Price negotiation
  • International brands