Domestic manufacturers contribute to “High Price” Switzerland

Many Swiss-made products cost less on German supermarket shelves. Keystone / Christof Stache

A price comparison study reveals that Swiss manufacturers charge domestic customers significantly more for their products than they do in foreign markets. While the price difference between Switzerland and the European Union has narrowed, many Swiss consumers still feel ripped off.

This content was published on August 18, 2019 - 17:00

The Schweiz am WochenendeExternal link newspaper on Sunday showed that it is not just foreign exporters who are charging more for their products in Switzerland. Swiss counterparts, such as Lindt & Sprüngli, dairy producer Emmi and potato snack manufacturer Zweifel, are also more expensive.

Thomy mayonnaise is nearly 90% dearer in Switzerland than in Germany, the survey found. And Emmi’s Caffé Latte Cappuccino is 73.8% more expensive when comparing prices in selected stores and online sites.

The list goes on: a Curaprox toothbrush costs 23.8% more, Pralinés du Confiseur from Lindt & Sprüngli are 14.7% dearer and Paprika Chips from Zweifel have a 19.6% premium compared to Germany.

The European Commission’s EurostatExternal link statistical website says the price difference is coming down. In 2016 the same basket of goods cost 62% more in Switzerland than the EU, but the difference came down to 56% last year.  

But this has not stopped consumer groups complaining that Swiss shoppers are getting a raw deal. And Swiss shoppers have been using their feet to protest by shopping over borders.

Most of the Swiss manufacturers gave the same reasons to the newspaper for the continued price differentials. Higher production costs in Switzerland, including wages, rent and logistics, top the list. Others said it is up to retailers to set prices, all of whom bargain with manufacturers on how much they are willing to pay for products.

In some cases, products are manufactured locally, say manufacturers, which can also affect the geographical price of products. And tariffs on agricultural products coming into Switzerland can add cost.

Non-food items, such as Victorinex knives and pencils from Caran D’Ache can cost the same or even less in Switzerland than Germany, the newspaper found.

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