Drugstore essentials prove significantly cheaper in Austria than Czechia

A selection of identical products in two branches of a large drugstore on either side of the Czech-Austrian border showed starkly different prices.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 12.12.2023 15:16:00 (updated on 12.12.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

A comparative analysis by Czech news website Deník.cz found that a host of basic items from large drugstore dm-drogerie markt are cheaper in Austria than in Czechia.

Deník journalists visited two branches of the store – one in the South Moravian town of Břeclav and the other in nearby Mistelbach, an Austrian town roughly 20 kilometers from the Czech border.

The reporters bought several of the same items in both stores, including staple hygiene products like shower gel, deodorant, hairspray, and cleaning wipes. The total bill in the Czech dm-drogerie markt was over CZK 300 more expensive than for the identical shopping basket in Austria.

Pay almost double for hairspray in Czechia

A Schwarzkopf Taft hairspray stands out as a prime example of the price disparity. Priced at CZK 119 in the Czech store, the same item costs just CZK 61.89 in Austria. The price differentials extend to other products like replacement heads for Venus Gillette Breeze razors, with Czech prices exceeding those in Austria by more than CZK 86. A can of Nivea women's deodorant costs CZK 80 in Czechia and CZK 59.5 in Austria.

The only products that were cheaper in the Czech branch were Weleda-brand shower gel and paper tissues.

Czech vs. Austrian drugstore prices: A snapshot

  • Schwarzkopf hairspray: CZK 62 (Austria) vs. CZK 119 (Czechia)
  • Razor head from Venus Gillette Breeze collection: CZK 363 vs. CZK 449
  • Men's Old Spice deodorant: CZK 103 vs CZK 109
  • Women's Ben and Anna deodorant: CZK 132 vs. CZK 169
  • Dm-branded cleaning wipes: CZK 30 vs. CZK 40
  • Women's Nivea deodorant: CZK 59 vs. CZK 80
  • Aptamil-brand baby milk: CZK 484 vs. CZK 499
  • Weleda shower gel: CZK 217 vs. CZK 199

    Prices valid as of the end of November. Austrian prices on the left, Czech on the right.

Notably, products labeled as ecologically friendly or “bio” consistently registered lower prices in Austria compared to their Czech counterparts.

Quality also greater in Austria?

The disparity in pricing has prompted a considerable number of South Moravians to cross the border for their drugstore purchases. A resident from Břeclav told Deník.cz that perceived differences in product quality also prompted her to visit Austria for basic supplies. She thought items like washing powder from the Austrian Hofer chain outperformed premium brands in the Czech Republic, for example. 

Other shoppers also say that the composition and longevity of products differed significantly between the two countries.

To add insult to injury, Austria has an average gross monthly salary of over EUR 2,600 (CZK 63,500) – compared to CZK 42,600 in Czechia. 

Headline annual inflation in Austria this year averages around 7.7 percent according to EU figures – Czechia’s higher rate of 12.2 percent has contributed to some items becoming more expensive than in its neighboring country.

German, Polish goods are also cheaper

This is far from the first finding that reveals the relatively high price of Czech goods compared to its neighboring countries. The trend of people crossing the Polish border to buy cheaper supermarket items has been ongoing for over 12 months and is well-documented in Czech media.

Additionally, Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s visit to a German supermarket last month, which drew strong criticism, found that several foods were not only cheaper than in Czechia but were also larger in quantity.

With inflation gradually easing in Czechia, consumers will hope that the sharp growth of basic drugstore items halts in 2024 – or even reverses. However, Deník’s findings underscore the currently grim situation of Czechia’s cost-of-living situation compared to its Western neighbors.

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