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Shopping tourism Swiss cross-border shopping up 6%

Places like this shopping centre in Basel close to the borders of France and Germany must compete with the strong Swiss franc, driving shoppers over the borders for bargains.


With the weakening of the euro, Swiss shoppers who couldn’t resist seizing bargains across the borders have risen by 6% in number compared with data from two years earlier, a study has found.

The study by the global market research institute GfK, which is headquartered in Germany, cited the strong franc as the main reason, for Swiss shoppers buying some CHF10.7 billion ($10.8 billion) worth of goods abroad in 2015.

Among those purchases was CHF1.7 billion worth of Internet purchases, up by 12% from the 2013 data.

But there were other factors, such as when the shops were open and declining oil prices. The average distance driven was 76 kilometres.

The study said 57% of Swiss households were shopping at least once a month abroad, slightly up from 55% in 2013, but that the purchases often were connected to holidays or business trips.

About a fifth of the 1,100 households, surveyed between October and January for a group of Swiss retailers, said the opening hours for the foreign shops were a factor, especially when compared with Swiss cantons whose shops have more restrictive hours.

The trend was most pronounced in the southern Italian-speaking canton Ticino, bordering Italy.

The franc has appreciated against the euro since January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank abolished its minimum exchange rate on its currency, continuing its niche as a haven currency during the euro-region’s debt crisis for investors who consider it refuge from the turmoil in European markets. and agencies

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