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Why You Should Buy an iPad in Bangkok Instead of Buenos Aires

Comparing the price of an iPad and more than 20 other consumer goods across a selection of the world's major cities.


While it's commonly thought that globalization has put the world's global cities on an increasingly level playing field, substantial differences in prices persist, according to a recently released survey by Pricerunner.

The study, which was released in Sweden, is based on comparative information on prices for 25 different consumer goods and services in 32 major cities (there doesn't appear to be any particular reason why these specific cities were chosen, so we'll refrain from drawing too many sweeping conclusions just from this list). My Swedish colleague Charlotta Mellander did a quick analysis (and translation) of the data. Michelle Hopgood then organized it into a graphic which highlights some of the biggest price differences between products. 

The results bear some resemblance to the Big Mac Index which the Economist puts together for the nations of the world. While the Pricerunner data is not nearly so comprehensive, it does provide a useful window into cost comparisons across cities where reliable data is much harder to come by.

Oslo is the most expensive city on the list to buy consumer goods overall, followed by São Paulo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Sydney, and Tokyo. Mumbai is the least expensive city included in the survey for consumer goods.

Shanghai has the cheapest Big Macs, Oslo the most expensive. iPhones are cheapest in San Francisco and cost the most in São Paolo, while iPads are cheapest in Bangkok and most expensive in Buenos Aires. A bus ticket costs the least in Mumbai and the most in Oslo. 

Photo credit: Jorge Lopez/Reuters

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