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The 10 Best Cities in the World for Luxury Shopping
7 Nov. 2023
7 Nov. 2023
There’s nothing quite like the rush of a shopping spree — there’s a reason it’s called retail therapy — especially when it’s for luxury items. While buying rare and high-quality items is extremely satisfying, it’s not just about the products you purchase, as luxury shopping is a hedonistic experience that can differ vastly across the world.
From the world’s biggest shopping malls to impressive designer flagship stores and famous shopping streets, there are many lavish shopping destinations not to be missed.
To find the best places for luxury shopping, we found the number of designer stores in cities with prestigious reputations. Continue reading to discover the top 10 cities and find your ultimate shopping paradise.
Tokyo’s fashion reputation — spurred by the inspiring street style and Rakuten Fashion Week — constantly attracts shopping lovers to the city. According to our research, Tokyo is the best city in the world for luxury shopping. We found that Japan’s capital had 217 designer stores — the most in our analysis — with Armani having the biggest presence.
Tokyo is rich in shopping areas, but the premium upmarket district Ginza is a luxury shopping haven with high-end department stores, boutiques and designer brand stores.
Most leading designer fashion brands have shops in Ginza, such as the impressive seven-floor Louis Vuitton store that emulates rippling water. The area also houses a high-end shopping complex, Ginza Six.
Another unmissable luxury shopping landmark in Tokyo is the striking Prada store, designed with concave ‘bubble’ glass windows, located in the wealthy neighbourhood of Aoyama. Tokyo’s luxury shopping possibilities are endless!
2) Hong Kong
The second best city for luxury shopping is Hong Kong, with 211 designer stores. The choice is plentiful for shoppers in Hong Kong, from the Landmark and Elements malls to the many flagship stores.
Although Hong Kong doesn’t have quite as many designer shops as Tokyo, Statista recently revealed that Hong Kong is home to the world’s most ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), making it a playground for the wealthy.
According to Statista, Hong Kong’s luxury market revenue amounted to CN¥96.56bn (£11.89bn) in 2023, with Chanel being the most dominant brand.
The end of pandemic restrictions in China triggered a spending rebound, which was expected to offset a decline in the US and Europe this year. Reports have predicted that by 2030, China will account for 40% of global luxury purchases.
With 210 designer boutiques, Seoul is in third place. The city is home to Asia’s largest underground mall, Starfield Coex Mall — an excellent spot for some retail therapy. For pure luxury, visit the Cheongdam-dong shopping street, Apgujeong Rodeo Street and the Galleria Department Store.
In 2022, Louis Vuitton became Korea’s top-performing designer brand and this year the fashion house held its first pre-fall runway show in Seoul as part of a new partnership to encourage travel to South Korea.
More luxury brands are expanding their South Korean presence due to the powerful influence of K-pop and popular Korean films and TV shows, with many companies bringing on Korean celebrities as ambassadors.
The high-income population has also contributed to a thriving economy, cementing South Korea as a luxury shopping hub. A previous report stated that South Koreans were the biggest luxury spenders in the world — a driving force for the lavish purchases was apparently the ‘desire to outwardly exhibit social standing’.
Many consider Paris the fashion capital of the world, or at least one of the “big four”, due to the many fashion houses, elite fashion schools and, of course, Fashion Week. The city had 177 designer stores, the most popular being Chanel, which Coco Chanel founded in Paris in 1910.
Paris also has a chic, sophisticated and romantic reputation — a big attraction for many. Paris was previously cited as the world’s most elegant city due to its history, fashion-savvy environment and urban lifestyle.
Many visit Paris for an extravagant shopping trip. Some of the best shopping spots include the shopping street Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the upmarket French department store chain Galeries Lafayette and the world’s first department store, Le Bon Marché.
However, for the epitome of French luxury, head to The Golden Triangle of Paris (AKA Triangle d’Or) — located between the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Avenue Montaigne, and the Avenue George V. This neighbourhood is where you can find many flagship haute-couture stores.
5) New York
We found that ‘the City that Never Sleeps’ had 124 designer boutiques, making it the fifth best for luxury shopping. The brand with the most stores in New York was Christian Dior.
New York is another one of the “big four” fashion capitals — it’s home to the world’s first Fashion Week and many impressive design schools, including Parsons and FIT. The Big Apple is also a shopaholic’s dream, with its most famous shopping destinations including Madison and Fifth Avenues, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The US is the leading force in the luxury goods industry, with revenue amounting to $75.69bn in 2023 and luxury fashion being the largest segment. When people think of luxury living in America, most minds will go to New York City.
A report recently cited New York as the fifth-most expensive city in the world (and number one in the USA) for luxury living. Additionally, in 2022, Fifth Avenue was named the world’s most expensive shopping street.
This lavish lifestyle attracts an affluent crowd, as it follows Hong Kong in second place as having the most UHNWIs!
Known as the ‘City of Gold’ for its highly lucrative gold trade (even having gold ATMs), Dubai placed sixth with 121 designer shops, including 16 Balmain stores.
Over the last 50 years, Dubai has transformed from a fishing community to an opulent hub. It has become a magnet for the very rich with the tax-free lifestyle, growing economy and luxury real estate. Just in 2022, Dubai recorded an 18% increase in multimillionaire residents.
Dubai has also become a shopper’s paradise. Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, is a haven of designer boutiques and anchor departments. The Mall of the Emirates is another must-visit for fashion lovers, with stores such as Dior, Bulgari and Gucci present, as well as a ‘hands-free’ service that enables you to have your bags collected and delivered during your shopping spree.
Dubai is the most populated city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and a previous study found that UAE citizens spend 30% of their salaries on luxury goods. The UAE Luxury Goods Market is also expected to reach USD 5.12 billion by 2028 — a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.20%. The luxury shopping haven is a must-visit!
Armani was once again the most prominent designer shop in London — it accounted for around 10% of the 112 luxury stores. Luxury shoppers have plenty of choice, from the famous department stores Harrods and Liberty to upscale areas, including Savile Row, The Royal Exchange, and Chelsea.
In Walpole’s London Luxury Survey, 69% of participants ranked Bond Street among the world’s top three luxury streets. The State of London Luxury report said high-end tourists in London outspend mass tourists by 14 times per trip, and it predicted the luxury sector’s value in London could reach £28-30 billion by 2024.
The report also found that 82% of respondents believed the blend of well-known luxury brands and local British luxury icons are major contributors to London’s distinctiveness in the luxury landscape.
Many influential fashion giants started in London, such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Sir Paul Smith and Stella McCartney. Of course, there’s no doubt that the Royal family also enhances London’s luxury status.
The fashion presence in London also enhances its shopping scene. Considered another quarter of the “big four” fashion capitals, London hosts a famous Fashion Week bi-annually and is home to many prestigious fashion schools and the British Fashion Council.
8) Los Angeles
We found Los Angeles had 83 designer stores, including nine Gucci, seven Louis Vuitton and 10 Armani, making it the eighth-best city in the world for luxury shopping.
Rodeo Drive is a s a two-mile-long street in Beverly Hills, with its southern segment in the City of Los Angeles. It’s the holy grail of luxury shopping with many leading upscale designer stores and some only accessible by appointment only. The city’s other famous shopping destinations include Beverly Centre and Melrose Place.
The influence of Hollywood has been a colossal catapult for LA’s luxury scene, with the shopping areas featured in several iconic TV shows and films such as Clueless, Pretty Woman and 90210.
Of course, not forgetting the prominent celebrity scene with A-list stars such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Jennifer Aniston, and Taylor Swift living in the City of Angels. Many visit the LA shopping scene to emulate the lives of the Hollywood elite!
9) Las Vegas
Las Vegas is a high-roller’s paradise, with many tourists and residents visiting high-end casinos, staying in grand hotels and hitting designer shops.
Our research found that Las Vegas had 71 designer stores, including North America’s largest Louis Vuitton store in The Shops at Crystals. Part of ARIA Las Vegas, the upscale shopping mall has been named the only all-luxury shopping destination in the United States. As well as housing designer stores, the complex has ice sculptures, a fine art collection and a flower carpet – making it an unforgettable shopping experience.
Known as “The Shopping Wonder of the World”, The Forum Shops at Caesars has many speciality stores, including Versace, Valentino and Gucci boutiques. Since the shopping complex opened in 1992, and high-end shopping became a huge allure of Las Vegas, it has transformed the city into a luxury hotspot.
In tenth place is Milan, which had 69 designer stores — less than a third of Tokyo’s boutiques. The Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana accounted for 11% of the Milan shops.
Milan is the remaining city of the “big four” fashion capitals due to its famed Fashion Week and being the base for fashion pioneers like Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace.
Milan is known for many upscale shopping destinations, including the shopping district Quadrilatero della Moda, consisting of four streets showcasing high-end stores. There are many shopping streets to explore, such as Via della Spiga, Via Dante, and, of course, Via Monte Napoleone, which is the most expensive retail street in not just Milan but all of Europe!
Milan is also home to the world’s oldest shopping centre, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which dates back to 1861. In 1913, Mario Prada opened the first Prada store in this shopping gallery, which is now known as Galleria 1913 and is the brand’s flagship store.
Fashion designer Ralph Lauren used to say: “I don’t create clothes. I create dreams“. This is how you can treat yourself to a journey filled with emotion and dreams, by discovering one or more of these unique cities directly linked to fashion design. From the variety of choice in Tokyo to the fashion influence of Paris, it’s worth visiting these cities purely for the high-class boutiques. Designer shopping is a glamorous way to tour these locations or to include as a way to enhance a trip.