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Retail By City


city rank #70

City Overview

Zurich’s city centre is small compared with other European shopping destinations, and all the main shopping streets can be explored comfortably on foot in one Saturday afternoon.

While exploring, visitors notice how beautiful the centre of Zurich is, especially the old town, and the diverse offerings of the retailers. With its 409,000 inhabitants, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, although by European standards it is still quite small. However, Zurich can keep pace with the retail offerings in cities such as Paris or London, in particular in terms of luxury goods and of course watches and jewellery. This also applies to the prices of products and the rent for retail premises. Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe.

At the same time, the residents also enjoy one of the best qualities of life in the world and have purchasing power that is way above average thanks to high income and low tax and social contribution rates, despite the high cost of living. This is also documented by the latest Prices and Earnings 2018 study by UBS, which calculates for a defined list of goods how long an average employee must work in each city in order to be able to purchase one of the goods. In a global comparison of cities, to purchase the iPhone X, an employee in Zurich must work the least number of days (4.7 days) in order to be able to afford it.

In addition to the purchasing power of the domestic population, the high number of national and international tourists benefits the local retailers. The city of Zurich is among the most attractive cities in Europe and attracts a large number of visitors every year. In 2017, according to the Zurich 2017 Annual Tourism Report (Zürich Tourismus 2018), the tourist region of Zurich had more than 5.96 million overnight hotel stays, of which 5.39 million were in the Canton of Zurich with almost 3.2 million of those in the city of Zurich, more than ever before. For the tourist region of Zurich, this meant an increase in overnight stays of 6% in 2017 compared to the previous year. If we also take into account overnight stays in other types of accommodation (camping sites, youth hostels, holiday appartments, etc.) and day visitors, we come to a good 37 million in tourist footfall in the Canton of Zurich in total, and 22 million in the City of Zurich.

With these figures, Zurich remains the strongest tourist region in Switzerland. According to the Zürich Tourismus annual report, overnight stays by guests from Asian countries rose particularly steeply in 2017. The number of guests from China now stands at 210,423 (+16.5%), from India at 211,983 (+30.8%), and from South-East Asian countries at 201,748 (+13.3%), whereas the numbers from European countries are mixed (Italy +1.1%, France -6.9%, Spain +12.8%, Germany +0.9%, and the UK -5.3%). For the first time, visitors from North America (569,957 visitors) overtook those from

Germany (502,915 visitors) as the largest foreign market. The largest group was Swiss guests travelling within their own country, amounting to well over a million overnight hotel stays (+6.8%). Tourists from China and the Gulf States proved to be happy spending money in the stores, especially in luxury boutiques in Bahnhofstrasse or in the old town around Weinplatz. According to Zürich Tourismus, tourists from the Gulf States spend more than CHF 500 per person per day on their holiday, and stay in 4 and 5-star hotels. For many of these visitors, shopping while travelling in Europe is regarded as an experience and boosts the prestige value of foreign travel

Things to do



Bahnhofstrasse, Paradeplatz, Europallee


Lakeside Bellevue, Chagall windows in Fraumünster Church, the old town for its charming nooks and crannies

And be seen


Sprüngli Paradeplatz, Niederdorf; Seefeld


Zurich City west area, Gerolds Garten, Rimini Bar

Be Merry

Niederdorf and Zurich West for the nightlife

Other Cities in Switzerland

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