Milan enjoys role as luxury shopping capital

Sometimes viewed as a not-so-beautiful city in decline, Milan nevertheless has proved itself to be a true luxury shopping capital. The Lombard metropolis is on the up-and-up in terms of average luxury spending, with the highest average shopping-ticket in the world (1,398 euros), ahead of Paris (1,241 euros) and London (1,240 euros), according to a survey conducted by SEA (which operates the Malpensea and Linate airports in Milan) for the consulting firm Pambianco.

Via della Spiga, Milan’s luxury Mecca - (Photo: PixelFormula)

New York comes below London in the rankings with an average ticket of 800 dollars, followed by Hong Kong (568 dollars) and Singapore (292 dollars). 

Paris and London have three times more visitors than Milan (between 15 and 16 million annually), while New York has twice the amount, with 11.4 million. Yet, with 6.1 million visitors annually, Milan is the top shopping destination with much a more homogeneous tourism industry as compared to other cities. 

"While elsewhere, the level and purpose of tourist’s travels are diverse, the main purpose of a visit to Milan is shopping," said the authors of the research. 

When tourists buy 40% of the world’s luxury goods, and this percentage is even 65% in France and 60% in Italy, Milan obviously has a role to play, with a future that looks bright.

In 2014, the global luxury market reached 226 billion euros, having seen 30% growth since 2009, while it is expected to grow 17% over the next four years to 265 billion dollars, according to data published by Pambianco.


Milan has carried out a great deal of urban renewal for the World Expo - (Photo: PixelFormula)

At the top of the list of tourists to Italy’s economic capital: Russians, followed by Americans, the Chinese and the French. In Milan's Quadrilatero della moda, where the total turnover is estimated at 3 billion euros, the average shopping-ticket jumped to 1,802 euros on its main street, Via Montenapoleone, while it is 1,030 euros in the adjacent Via della Spiga. 

The average ticket in Rome is 978 euros, while in Florence it’s 816 euros. Venice is also highly ranked with an average ticket of 1276 euros. But, as the authors of the research emphasize, "Milan is a city where one comes back repeatedly, while you only visit Venice once." 

With a very high density of stores located in smaller urban spaces when compared to other large cities, Milan’s city-center itself presents itself as "an open-air shopping center", offering a wide variety of stores that are often situated in magnificent locations, such as the monumental Galleria Vittorio Emanuele or the historical palace decorated with frescoes that houses the new Bottega Veneta Home store. 

Another example - this time with a fast fashion positioning: Zara’s store on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which is housed in a majestic 19th century former theater. The store alone generates more than 60 million euros in turnover!

The Giorgio Armani store in the historical Taverna Palace on via Montenapoleone - Foto: Adnkronos

Riding the wave of its reputation as a fashion capital thanks to the momentum began in the 1980s with the fashion icons of Made in Italy, from Gianni Versace to Giorgio Armani, Milan continues to enjoys a vibrant image with 1,100 showrooms, tapping into some 600,000 buyers during the 110 days a year set aside for fashion and design-related events.

But the current situation doesn’t always correspond to the city’s image from its golden era in the 1980s. Tourists interviewed by Pambianco, for example, lament the lack of nightlife offered by Milan and point to its poor communication efforts…all the while, considering the Lombard capital as "cosmopolitan as New York!" 

While new buildings constructed in recent years have radically transformed its skyline, the Lombard metropolis has also seen significant renovations in time for the World Expo, which is set to run from May 1 to October 31.

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