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Swiss cross-border shopping not always worth it, says study

In 2015, Swiss residents made 24 million shopping trips abroad.


The average Swiss-based cross-border shopper travelled 69 kilometres to shop in a neighbouring country, 55 kilometres further than they did when shopping in Switzerland, according to a study published by Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse calculated that, on average, a cross-border shopper would need to spend at least CHF 274 per vehicle to make the journey economically worthwhile. This amount rises to an average of more than CHF 600 for those further inland. These figures were based on 2015 exchange rates. Now the numbers would be higher.

At the same time journey costs are estimated at CHF 0.73 per kilometre plus CHF 37 per hour, a measure of the opportunity cost of sitting behind the wheel. Not everyone costs their journeys this way.

Where you live in Switzerland really matters. In the top three cross-border shopping regions: Schaffhausen, Basel and Geneva, the breakeven figures ranged from a few francs to less than CHF 50. In the bottom three: Stans, Altdorf and Sarnen, breakeven figures were all between CHF 800 and CHF 900 – numbers assume a 41% saving (2017 exchange rate) and two people per car.

Around 76% of all cross-border shopping trips were made from border regions. 28% of Switzerland’s population lives in these areas.

Since 1 January 2018, French tax on diesel increased by 10% (+7,6 centimes). This means Swiss drivers of diesel cars no longer benefit from filling up in France. Petrol has been cheaper in Switzerland than France for many years.

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Le News
The newspaper Le News is a free, quality, local English language newspaper launched on 31 October 2013. Le News fills a gap in local Swiss media for the numerous English-speakers living and visiting Switzerland. In late January 2015 we decided to put our print medium on hold and focus on our digital media presence.
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