Prices in Tunisia

goods - quality - counterfeits - smuggling

What are the prices in Tunisia?
Is everything cheaper in Tunisia?

The prices in Tunisia are only in certain, few, areas below those of other western countries. The impression of a generally low price level ("everything is cheap in Tunisia") has four causes:

  1. In Tunisia some goods are subsidized by the state or there is a state interest in a low price.
    These goods and services include e.g. public transport, petrol and essential staples such as bread, butter and oil. However, there are also goods that are heavily taxed and therefore much more expensive than in other countries - this includes, for example, alcohol (beer, wine, spirits).
  2. In Tunisia, in a nutshell, everything is cheaper, where labor is the main component of the price because wages are low (the minimum wage in Tunisia is currently well below 200 USD/EUR per month). All service-oriented services are therefore cheaper than in most western countries, e.g. the hairdresser, the laundry, shoemaker, driver, etc. In addition, there is also many food that is grown by local farmers and sold on the market or to small shops. However, food that has to be transported from afar or is out of season costs more than in most western countries (eg. canned tuna, often bananas, etc.) or are not available at all (exotic fruits, fresh mushrooms, etc.).
  3. In Tunisia, goods often have a lower quality than in western countries. However, if you compare the same qualities (there are also high-quality and "branded" goods of all kinds in Tunisia), then the price is often the same.
    But not only lower quality is responsible for low prices, it is also low controls and smuggling.
    Many goods, especially those for sale on the streets, are sometimes obtained by smuggling from neighboring countries - without any control over their ingredients, which may also result in the sale of dangerous products to the consumer.
    But there are also goods offered where content and packaging do not match (cheap products filled in brand containers).
    Many goods are sold cheaply in supermarkets, but at higher prices in small local stores ("Hanout"), and especially in "tourist shops". In the countryside, some items are more expensive or even impossible to buy, which are available everywhere in big cities - and vice versa.
  4.  In Tunisia, there is a wide range of cheap fake products (copies, counterfeiting), ie. products that carry a brand name but are not made and sold on behalf or with the knowledge of the brand owners, mainly clothing, watches, sunglasses, bags, recorded CDs and DVDs.
    In addition to (mostly) total counterfeits, these are often second-hand goods,  products that were quality-wise not accepted by the trademark owner, or that were illegally produced in the factories of the brand manufacturers.
    These goods are then offered at a much lower price compared to the original products.
    In recent years, many goods are being smuggled in from neighboring countries, most of which are produced in China or other Asian countries and in Turkey. This also includes many goods that a tourist considers being manufactured in Tunisia ("original Tunisian handicrafts", clothing)!

Although there are nominal checks on goods and merchants in Tunisia, the state inspectors are not in a position to control all traders or goods - or even the majority for that matter.

The result is that, depending on where you look and WHEN you look, very different prices for one and the same item occur and the prices for a product of the same quality are sometimes higher, sometimes lower, than in western countries. The prices and qualities of new goods on a "flea market", for example in western countries, are often at the same level as for the same or similar goods in Tunisia.

The general "In Tunisia everything is cheaper" does not exist (anymore) - it always depends on the individual case.

Sometimes, for example, some products are temporarily not available or rationed (1 pack per person) in many shops, and, even more important, some ordinary drugs are temporarily not available in pharmacies.

Additional information:

Shopping in Tunisia - prices and haggling

Shopping in Tunisia - gold and wares

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