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.
How Pricey Is Starbucks In Asia?
This is the price of a tall (as in small) hot Starbucks latte in U.S. Dollars in 11 Asian countries, adjusted to reflect the relative cost of other goods there. As the comparison with the U.S. cost shows, Starbucks takes a bigger bite out of your finances in Asia than in the U.S., by anywhere from a little to a lot.
Where Starbucks Is Most To Least Costly, Relatively Speaking
|Country||Comparative Cost, Starbucks Tall Latte|
|United Arab Emirates||$5.62|
We analysed the most recent market data (from January 2016) on the cost of a small ("tall") hot latte at Starbucks in 44 countries around the world, as gathered by Euromonitor International, a leading global provider of market research. In countries for which there were multiple price quotes, we averaged the quotes to arrive at a national average.
While the gathered data was in the local currency of each nation, we didn’t simply convert the currency into U.S. dollars, because such a conversion would not reflect the differing purchasing power of a certain amount of money in each country. Instead, we used a converter developed by a consultant, Nigel Babu, that uses data from the World Bank that reflects the respective cost of a basket of goods, including food, in countries around the world. The dollar figure we show, then, represents the cost of that latte in context with other goods.
In all countries, the relative cost of that Starbucks cup was higher than in the U.S., but there was variation in how much higher it was. The figure we show, then, essentially represents the sticker shock, from mild to major, that you’d feel if you lived in the country, making a local salary, and perused the prices at one of the local Starbucks. Put another way, it’s how pricey that drink would seem to a local latte drinker, in light of what most things cost in the country.