A recent study by Geneva’s department of economic development (DDE) looks at the shopping habits of its residents and the residents of neighbouring Vaud and neighbouring France – an area including Nyon and parts of the French Ain and Haute Savoie regions.
Every year, the residents of this greater Geneva region spend around CHF 7.2 billion francs on consumable items in physical stores. This money is spread across personal goods (19%), garden and DIY goods (6%), home goods (10%), entertainment (14%) and food (51%). Of this, CHF 576 million is spent shopping across national borders, around 8% of the total.
Residents of Switzerland are more frequent cross-broder shoppers than those living in France. 30% shop regularly in France and a further 35% occasionally. Only 20% of French residents shop regularly in Switzerland, with a further 30% doing so occasionally. Annually, Swiss residents spend CHF 426 million in French stores and French residents spend CHF 150 million in Swiss stores.
The main reasons for Swiss residents heading to France with an empty shopping bag are price (1st), specific product availability (2nd) and opening hours (3rd). French residents only list specific product availability (1st) and proximity (2nd) as reasons for shopping in Switzerland. The favourite cross-border destination for Swiss-based shoppers is Ferny-Voltaire.
In addition, there are big differences in spending power. An average Swiss household has an annual income of CHF 105,000 compared to and average of CHF 44,700 in neighbouring France, a figure far higher than the average of CHF 29,500 across all of France.
More than 85% of these shopping trips are made by car, an environmental burden not always considered.