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This inaugural publication analyses consumption trends by tracking the price trends of premium goods and services in the Julius Baer Lifestyle Index. Pioneered in the Wealth Report Asia, the Index tracks 20 items across 28 cities globally. The report also has a special focus on ‘conscious consumption’, highlighting how ethical choices about the environment and sustainability are causing a rethink in what it means to live well today.

Overall findings: 

  • Asia is the most expensive region and home to the world’s top three most costly cities (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo) and the least expensive (Mumbai in 28th place).
  • The Americas ranks second overall, led by New York (4th globally) while Vancouver lays claim to the most affordable city within the region (21st). 
  • European cities offer the best value, led by London (7th) while the continent’s best-value cities for luxurious living are Barcelona (24th) and Frankfurt (26th).
  • Global luxury demand continues to grow steadily over time, as evident from the outperformance of listed high-end goods makers in the West against mainstream indices.  

Findings on conscious consumption:

  • With the corporate world changing and society pushing for a more sustainable future, governments, regulators and central banks are starting to address the topic of sustainability. 
  • In a recent global survey, 81% of companies reported that sustainability is more important to their business than five years ago, and 85% believe it will be even more important in five years’ time. 
  • Consumers from less developed countries in Asia and Latin America are willing to pay more for products from responsible companies as they are directly experiencing the negative effects of rapid economic growth and because trust in local brands is not high.
  • European and North American consumers are less willing to pay a premium for more ethically sourced products due to strict environmental regulations and scepticism of big business.

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