In its home country of the U.S., a Starbucks coffee is pricier than a regular cup of coffee from a store or restaurant. But a new study by ValuePenguin shows going to the chain is more costly still in Asian countries, sometimes by a lot.
We gathered prices for a small (“tall”) Starbucks latte in 40 countries, including 11 in Asia, and then adjusted them to reflect the cost of other goods and services there compared with the U.S. (We converted the local price to U.S. dollars. But if other goods cost less in the country than in the U.S., we adjusted the price upwards to get a relative cost. If they cost more, we did the opposite.)
The results reveal that Starbucks is pricier, relatively speaking, than the U.S. in every Asian country. But how much pricier varies by a lot.
In Japan, that latte costs only slightly more than in the U.S., at about $3.50, compared with $2.75 in the U.S. In other Asian countries, including Singapore and Korea, a latte hits the wallet somewhat harder than in the U.S., at the equivalent of $5 or so.
However, stepping up to the Starbucks counter elsewhere in Asia feels like a far bigger extravagance. In India, Indonesia, and Thailand, that latte costs the equivalent of $8 or so. Some other Asian countries surveyed--China, Malaysia, and the Philippines--are nearly as expensive, at around $7. Nothing, however, matches the luxe indulgence of ordering a latte in Russia, where the tab would feel like spending $12 for the drink in the U.S.
With bread, milk, or other staples generally less costly in Asia than in the U.S., Starbucks seems like an exotic, status-laden purchase--and an embodiment, perhaps, of American affluence and indulgence.