Mumbai most expensive Indian city for expatriates: Report

BL Mumbai Bureau | Updated on: Jun 29, 2022
Big picture: Mumbai is the most expensive city in India for movie watching, while  Hyderabad is the cheapest

Big picture: Mumbai is the most expensive city in India for movie watching, while Hyderabad is the cheapest | Photo Credit: SHASHANK PARADE

Kolkata has the lowest cost of daily necessities such as milk, breads, vegetables

Mumbai is the most expensive city in India for expatriates, according to Mercer’s 2022 Cost of Living survey.

Globally Mumbai ranks 127, down from 78 last year. However, it is the most costly city in India in terms of both living expenses and accommodation, as per the report. It is followed by New Delhi (155), Chennai (177), Bengaluru (178), and Hyderabad (192), while Pune (201) and Kolkata (203) are the least expensive Indian cities in the ranking.

The survey was conducted in March 2022. The ranking compares the prices of over 200 commodities including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment in 227 cities across five continents. 

Mercer revamped its methodology this year with new items such as smartwatches, tablet computers and smartphones added to the ‘çost of living’ list, while items such as music CDs and video movie rentals were removed.

As per the study, Kolkata has the lowest cost of daily necessities such as milk, breads, vegetables, and so on, while it is highest in Mumbai and New Delhi. 

Cost of home utilities such as energy and phone is highest in Mumbai and lowest in Chennai and Hyderabad. Mumbai is also the most expensive for movie watching, while Hyderabad is the cheapest.

Global mobility

Hyderabad was also the cheapest for housing, but is more expensive than Pune and Kolkata when cost of living and housing are both taken into account. 

Mumbai has the most costly rentals, followed by New Delhi and Bengaluru. Accommodation in the other Indian cities in the ranking (Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Kolkata) is more than 50 per cent cheaper than in Mumbai.

Rahul Sharma, India Mobility Leader, Mercer, said, “Global supply chains for necessities have been disrupted as a result of Covid-19-related volatility, which has been exacerbated by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

“As a result of this uncertainty, organisations have been forced to re-evaluate their global mobility initiatives with a focus on the well-being of their expatriate employees, balanced with economics, along with significantly growing inflation in the majority of countries around the world.” 

“Additionally, we have seen that petrol costs have increased in all Indian cities. Also, the price of a new car and other maintenance costs have gone up in all Indian cities,” Sharma added.

Talent mobility

The report added that it is imperative to re-examine and reinvent talent mobility programmes in the current global environment, given the challenges of cost and the complexity of operating globally.

“This could comprise applying newer economic models, using more distributed talent workforces, leveraging through access to right information for location and other assessments into the talent mobilisation decisions,” it said.

“For instance, it is not surprising that India is re-emerging among the contenders to relocate and set up operations for manufacturing or captives, given advantages of skill availability, relative cost-competitiveness and attractiveness for mobilising executives to conduct business in select cities,” it added.

Compared to other major cities in the Asia-Pacific region, including Beijing, Shanghai and Manila, Indian cities including Mumbai and New Delhi have a lower cost of living and expat accommodation, making it a cost-efficient destination for global MNC overseas operations. 

The survey also found that Mumbai, the financial hub of India, is a popular place for multinational corporations to establish operations.

"Organisations are, however, also considering other low-cost areas like Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune due to the greater cost of living in Mumbai,” it added.

Four out of the 10 most expensive cities to live in for international assignees are in Asia, including the most expensive globally — Hong Kong. Singapore (8), Tokyo (9) and Beijing (10) are among the others in the top ten list.

Published on June 29, 2022
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