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World Shopping Capitals
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World Shopping Capitals 2011 Survey - Which City is the Biggest Shopper?

The World Shopping Capitals survey (published in 2011) was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research in 2010 and sponsored by Kelkoo.

Key Results
London
was found to be the world's shopping capital

  • the largest retail market in non-food shopping - £64.15 billion
  • the largest retail sales of food and non-food - £91.90 billion
  • the largest online sales - £9.9 billion

The other major shopping capitals were: Tokyo, New York and Paris.

Editor's Notes

The World Shopping Capitals covered 22 cities from Rio to Tokyo.

It was not a survey of the 10 'best' shopping streets in each city, the quality of restaurants, the weather, the crime stats or which is the most-loved shopping town.

It is a survey of shopping size and impact. There are probably 100 ways of deciding which is the top city. Many of them might well produce a different set of answers from ours. If we carried out this research in 2015, we might get different results as some cities grew faster and others declined relatively as the world comes out of recession.

Comparability is the key

Early on we decided that if we based 'city' size on administrative areas this would produce a false result. The city of Paris, for example, is 2½ times smaller than London (administratively) but the conurbations in which each city is set are of roughly similar size.

We used a common definition of conurbation designed by geographers at the EU as providing a consistent definition. People in conurbations travel to work and travel to shop across a sizeable area and this economic aggregate was what we tried to capture.

This will tend to mean that bigger cities do better in our shopping charts, but the agglomeration effects mean that bigger cities tend to be more varied and attractive shopping destinations.

Looking at the data carefully shows that: London is one of the top 5 cities in population terms; it has one of the very highest standards of living; there are a lot of high-spending tourists; the UK spends a much higher percentage of its disposable income on retail than other countries; and the UK is a leader in eCommerce. All these trends push London to the top of the charts. Paris has more tourists than London (probably), and these tourists may stay longer and spend more, in better restaurants and cafes, but they do not produce higher total sales.

Some key figures are given below. Note that data is given in £sterling and €uros (2010 rates of exchange).

Table 1

Shopping Capitals Non-Food Sales 2010

 
Ranking
Sales
(£bill)
Sales
(€bill)
Population
(millions)
London
1
£64.15
€75.72
11.917
Tokyo
2
£61.40
€72.49
12.989
New York
3
£46.95
€55.43
8.391
Paris
4
£46.58
€54.99
11.089
Los Angeles
5
£20.39
€24.07
3.834
Hong Kong
6
£19.86
€23.45
7.026
Singapore
7
£18.32
€21.62
4.987
Dubai
8
£16.26
€19.20
1.400
Sydney
9
£15.15
€17.89
3.641
Milan
10
£13.41
€15.83
4.136
Barcelona
11
£13.24
€15.63
4.082
Manchester
12
£12.16
€14.35
2.556
Rome
13
£10.34
€12.21
3.190
Madrid
14
£10.07
€11.88
3.213
Berlin
15
£9.91
€11.70
3.442
Amsterdam
16
£9.33
€11.02
2.497
Copenhagen
17
£6.87
€8.11
1.881
Moscow
18
£6.78
€8.00
10.559
Stockholm
19
£5.27
€6.22
1.285
Oslo
20
£5.07
€5.98
1.037
Rio De Janeiro
21
£4.57
€5.40
7.623
Johannesburg
22
£1.40
€1.65
3.888
Totals
£417.48
€492.83
114.663
Statistical Mean
£18.98
€22.40
5.212
 
The total retail non-food sales of the 22 cities was £417.48 billion, but the average sales per capital was £18.98 billion).
 
The average population was 5.2 million, but London, Tokyo, Paris, and Moscow had populations of more than 10 million.

Data about overseas tourists are patchy because they are based on hotel overnights, calculated by national tourist authorities and collected by the UN. No better data is available. Tourists who do not stay overnight in the city, or who are passing through, are not counted in the total. So the actual number of overseas tourists who shop in cities will be much larger than these totals except perhaps in Dubai.

The most popular global shopping cities with overseas tourists, according to international data; are:

London (14.1 million); Singapore (9.7 million); New York (8.5 million); Dubai (7.8 million); Paris (7.8 million); Hong Kong (7.0 million); and Rome (5.5 million).

There are no figures for 'tourists' or shoppers from other regions of the same country, but their spending will be captured by the non-food sales figures even though we cannot distinguish them from sales to the cities' populations.

Table 2
Ranking for All Retail (Food & Non-food)

 
Ranking
Sales(£bn)
Sales (€bn)
 
 
London
1
£91.90
€108.49
Tokyo
2
£90.17
€106.44
Paris
3
£77.90
€91.96
New York
4
£66.20
€78.15
Los Angeles
5
£28.75
€33.94
Hong Kong
6
£24.80
€29.27
Dubai
7
£24.64
€29.09
Sydney
8
£24.40
€28.81
Singapore
9
£23.72
€28.00
Barcelona
10
£21.41
€25.27
Milan
11
£20.34
€24.01
Manchester
12
£16.90
€19.94
Madrid
13
£16.28
€19.22
Berlin
14
£15.88
€18.74
Rome
15
£15.69
€18.52
Amsterdam
16
£12.91
€15.24
Moscow
17
£12.51
€14.77
Copenhagen
18
£11.99
€14.15
Oslo
19
£8.67
€10.24
Stockholm
20
£8.40
€9.91
Rio de Janeiro
21
£6.50
€7.67
Johannesburg
22
£2.21
€2.60
Totals
£622.14
€734.44
Statistical Mean
£28.28
€33.38
 

Total retail sales for both food and non-food ('all retail') are given in Table 2. They show a similar pattern to the non-food data, though Paris moves to no 3, displacing New York for all retail.

Online Sales

Online sales of non-food are relatively low in most shopping capitals, but London, Tokyo, New York, Berlin and Copenhagen all score 13.0% or more of city retail sales.

The ranking by online financial sales is very similar to Table 1, except that Sydney moves up 3 places and Manchester moves up 5.

Table 3
Online Non-food Sales in each shopping capital

 
Online Non-food
(Percent retail)
Online Sales
(£ millions)
Online Sales
(€ millions)
Online Sales
Ranking
 
London
15.5%
£9,923.9
€11,715.1
1
Tokyo
13.8%
£8,453.3
€9,979.1
2
New York
13.4%
£6,314.1
€7,453.8
3
Paris
12.1%
£5,639.9
€6,657.9
4
Los Angeles
11.6%
£2,358.1
€2,783.7
5
Sydney
11.1%
£1,681.8
€1,985.4
6
Manchester
12.5%
£1,521.9
€1,796.6
7
Berlin
13.2%
£1,306.0
€1,541.8
8
Singapore
6.6%
£1,207.0
€1,424.9
9
Hong Kong
5.1%
£1,015.4
€1,198.7
10
Dubai
5.9%
£962.6
€1,136.4
11
Copenhagen
13.3%
£914.9
€1,080.1
12
Amsterdam
9.4%
£879.1
€1,037.7
13
Barcelona
6.1%
£800.9
€945.5
14
Milan
5.1%
£685.2
€808.9
15
Madrid
6.8%
£683.0
€806.3
16
Oslo
12.8%
£647.4
€764.2
17
Stockholm
10.6%
£559.6
€660.6
18
Rome
4.8%
£500.7
€591.0
19
Moscow
5.5%
£374.1
€441.6
20
Rio de Janeiro
6.5%
£295.1
€348.3
21
Johannesburg
6.6%
£92.3
€109.0
22
Totals
n/a
£46,816.3
€55,266.6
na
Statistical mean
9.5%
£2,128.0
€2,512.1