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Which European countries has the thriftiest shoppers?

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With both the state of the environment and fast fashion becoming an ever-growing concern, many individuals across Europe are eager to save money whilst taking greater care of the environment, with ‘thrifty’ shopping being a successful means of doing so.

To discover which European cities are home to the most ‘thrifty’ shoppers of all, energy switching site SaveOnEnergy studied the following in each major city:

  • The number of Google searches for second hand shopping related terms

  • The number of second hand clothes and shoes for sale on Etsy

  • The number of markets

  • The number of second hand shops

Each city was then awarded a score for each based on the number per 10,000 population, before being combined together for one final overall score. The higher the final score, the “thriftier” the city is deemed.

The European cities home to the ‘thriftiest’ shoppers

After analysing ‘thrifty’ habits in each major European city, we can reveal that Nicosia in Cyprus is home to the thriftiest shoppers in Europe, with a total score of 332. This impressive score is largely due to the number of second hand stores in the city, and Etsy product listings.

The Lithuanian city of Vilnius is the second most thrifty city in Europe, with a score of 316. The city is home to the third-highest number of Etsy listings and some of the most second-hand related searches on Google.

Valletta, based in Malta, ranked as the third most ‘thrifty’ European city. The city has been awarded a total score of 286 points in part due to the highest numbers of second hand stores. Following closely behind is the Irish city of Dublin and Ljubljana in Slovenia, with both cities sharing the fourth spot, with a total score of 282 each.

Rounding off the top five is the Portuguese city of Lisbon, claiming a final score of 277 thanks to the city’s 5,672 Etsy listings and 20 second hand stores.

The European cities home to the least ‘thrifty’ shoppers

Keen to unveil which European cities are home to the least ‘thrifty’ shoppers, we ranked the cities with the lowest total scores, finding these European hubs to be home to the least thrifty shoppers:

Moscow was revealed to be the European city with the least thrifty shoppers, since the Russian city had the lowest total score (48). Moscow had some of the lowest numbers of ‘thrifty’ Google searches and was home to the lowest number of second hand stores. Minsk, based in Belarus, is the second least thrifty European city studied with a total score of just 68.

The Italian capital of Rome is home to the third least ‘thrifty’ shoppers, with a total score of only 77. This score can be put down to Rome’s lack of markets and lack of online searches for thrifty terms.

Kiev followed, since the Ukraine-based city only managed a total score of 100 based on their number of ‘thrifty’ Google searches, quantity of Etsy listings, second hand stores, and markets.

Meanwhile, Belgrade and Podgorica both had a low total score of 111, meaning that they shared the spot as the European city with the fifth least ‘thrifty’ shoppers.

The breakdown

In order to gain a better insight into the most popular ‘thrifty’ practices within each European city, we analysed the number of ‘thrifty’ searches made online, the number of Etsy listings for clothing and shoes, the number of market stalls, and second hand stores. A score for each city was awarded based on the number of each per 10,000 people in their population. The results were as follows:

Google searches made for ‘thrifty’ terms

The European cities making the most ‘thrifty’ searches

In first place, with 96.39 Google searches per 10,000 people, is Dublin in Ireland with an impressive score of 100.

Following closely behind with a score of 98 is the French capital of Paris, with Parisians making 69.93 searches per 10,000 people.

London followed in third, making 44.25 searches each month for ‘charity shops’, ‘second hand clothes’, and ‘thrift stores’, resulting in a score of 95 in our study.

The European cities making the least ‘thrifty’ searches

Valletta in Malta and San Marino both ranked as the European cities making the least ‘thrifty’ online searches, receiving a very low score of 0 for making no searches at all.

The Russian capital of Moscow followed, with a score of just five for making 0.10 ‘thrifty’ searches online per 10,000 population. The city was followed closely behind by Minsk in Belarus, scoring just seven points for making 0.15 searches per 10,000 population.

Etsy clothes and shoe listings

The European cities with the most Etsy listings

Next, we found out which European cities had the most clothes and shoes listings on Etsy per 10,000 people.

Vilnius in Lithuania ranked as the European city with the most Etsy clothes and shoes listings per 10,000 people in their population (749), resulting in a score of 100.

Riga in Latvia followed, with a score of 98 for having 564 Etsy listings per 10,000 people in the country.

Rounding off the top three is the Greek capital, Athens, with 395 Etsy listings per 10,000 people resulting in a score of 95.

The European cities with the least Etsy listings

Andorra La Vella in Andorra and Vaduz in Liechtenstein both had the fewest clothes and shoes listed on Etsy per 10,000 people in their population, with both European cities receiving a score of just 0.

With a score of five, the city of Nuuk in Greenland followed due to the European city having just one item of clothing or shoes listed on Etsy per 10,000 people. Podgorica in Montenegro has the third-lowest number of clothes and shoe listings on Etsy, leaving the city with a score of just seven.

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Markets

The European cities with the most markets

We also studied the number of markets in each European city to determine the thriftiest city of all. With a score of 100, Valletta in Malta has the most markets of all cities studied (6), which equates to 132.45 per 10,000 population – impressive!

Nicosia in Cyprus followed shortly behind in second with a score of 98, with the city’s single market equating to around 1.67 markets per 10,000 people.

In third is the city of Andorra La Vella in Andorra, which was awarded a score of 95 for their six markets which equates to 1.09 markets per 10,000 people.

The European cities with the least markets

By comparison, the European cities Podgorica, Reykjavik, Monaco, Nuuk, San Marino and Vaduz were each awarded a score of 0 due to holding no markets in the city.

Despite Moscow in Russia holding 15 markets in the city, when compared to their large population, this equates to 0.01 per 10,000 people and ranks them among the cities with the least, resulting in a score of 14.

The Italian capital of Rome has the third lowest number of markets when compared to their population, with the city receiving a score of 16 in our study.

Second hand stores

The European cities with the most second hand stores

The final factor considered to determine which European city is the ‘thriftiest’ is the number of second hand stores found in each city per 10,000 people.

The city of Vaduz, based in Liechtenstein, has a staggering 242.83 stores per 10,000 people, resulting in a score of 100.

Following behind with a score of 98 is Valletta in Malta, with an impressive 21.16 second hand stores per 10,000 population.

Rounding off the top three is San Marino, in San Marino, with a score of 95. This is due to the city having eight second hand stores, which equates to 13.33 stores per 10,000 people in the country.

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The European cities with the least second hand stores

Moscow in Russia was awarded the lowest score due to the lack of second hand stores in the city, receiving a score of 0.

The city with the second-lowest number of second hand stores in proportion to the population is London, with a score of just two.

Belgrade in Serbia was awarded a score of five, thus ranking as the city with the third least second hand stores of all European cities studied.

Methodology:

1. To compile a list of capital cities across Europe and their population, SaveOnEnergy sourced data from https://www.nationsonline.org/one world/capitals_europe.htm.

2. Next, factors which rendered cities as home to the ‘thriftiest shoppers’ were considered and a score was provided for each factor, for each European city. These factors were identified and measured as follows:

- Search Volumes: represents the total number of Google searches for three second hand shopping-related terms per 10,000 population. The search phrases were: “charity shops”, “second hand clothes”, and “thrift stores”. The data was sourced from Google Ads Keyword Planner. To account for language differences, the terms were translated using https://smodin.me/translate-one-text-into-multiple-languages

- Etsy Products: shows the number of second hand clothes and shoes available for sale on Etsy by each city location. Data sourced from https://www.etsy.com/uk/

- Second Hand Stores: reflects the number of second hand shops within each city. Data collected via Google Maps searches.

- Markets: shows the number of markets within each city. Data were collected via Google Maps searches.

3. To control for population differences, all the figures were divided by each city's population and then multiplied by 10,000 to present the results as per 10,000 population.

4. The variables were standardised to account for different units of measurement. This was done by using the PERCENTILERANK.INC function within Excel to return the rank of a value in a data set as a percentage (0… 1, inclusive) of the data set. These values were then multiplied by 100, meaning the score range for any data point is between 0 and 100.

5. The sum of all the variables was found for each city to find the final score. The higher the final score, the more "thrifty" the city is deemed.