Shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai is a paradise for those seeking a healthy dose of retail therapy. You can find almost anything in the city’s plentiful street markets, luxury shopping malls and designer boutiques. Here is our guide to the top buys and the best areas for shopping in Shanghai.
Neon signs lit on Nanjing Road. The area is the main shopping district of the city and one of the world's busiest shopping streets. Photo: Shutterstock
Neon signs lit on Nanjing Road. The area is the main shopping district of the city and one of the world's busiest shopping streets. Photo: Shutterstock

Shopping in Shanghai was once limited to fake brands and kitschy souvenirs, but now global luxury labels are courting the city’s new wealthy classes with opulent flagship stores and China-focused product lines.

Louis Vuitton opened its first China Maison and largest Shanghai store across four levels at Plaza 66 on Nanjing West Road, while New York 'Jeweller to the Stars' Harry Winston unveiled its largest global salon in a freestanding pavilion at Xintiandi. Local designers and niche labels are also getting in on the act, taking advantage of easy access to raw materials and the dominant consumer spirit to launch an array of exciting new boutiques and brands. These can be found dotted around the former French Concession and streets near the Bund.

Given that there are also arts and crafts shops, antiques markets and the city’s famous silk purveyors and custom tailors competing for your custom, you might want to consider bringing along an extra suitcase for your Shanghai shopping purchases – or buying one, of course.

Luxury retail in Shanghai. Photo: Shutterstock

Where to go shopping in Shanghai

Shanghai’s main shopping streets are Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road. The eastern pedestrianised end of Nanjing Road is usually mobbed by local and out-of-town Chinese shoppers at weekends, while Nanjing Road West and Huaihai Road are peppered with upscale malls, luxury boutiques and fast fashion outlets. Our local experts can save you time and money when planning your trip to Shanghai. Experience the city's exciting shopping opportunities as part of Insight Guides' Complete China: Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai trip.

Tianzifang or Tianzi Fang is a touristic arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated traditional residential area. Photo: Shutterstock

Shanghai chic

The traditional lanes and shikumen houses of Xintiandi are now a hotbed of international designer brands. For funky fashions, head over to the Xintiandi Style Shopping Centre (245 Madang Road), where hip young designers from Shanghai and across Asia showcase their latest collections. IAPM Mall (999 Huaihai Road C) is one of the city’s newest and swankiest malls with great dining options and an IMAX cinema in the penthouse.

In the former French Concession, the narrow residential lanes of Tianzifang (Lane 210 Taikang Road) are packed with local designer boutiques, trinket stalls and alfresco cafés – it’s a great place to pick up some one-off souvenirs. Look out for hand-embroidered accessories at Harvest Studio (Suite 18, Bldg 3, Lane 210 Taikang Road) and photographic prints of Shanghai scenes at Deke Erh Art Center (No. 2, Lane 210 Taikang Road).

The streets around the Bund also harbour some gems among the showier boutiques. Check out Suzhou Cobblers (Room 101, 17 Fuzhou Road) for a pair of handcrafted silk slippers, Blue China White (Room 103, 17 Fuzhou Road) offering hand-painted Jingdezhen porcelain tableware, Song Fang Maison de The (19 Fuzhou Road) for fine teas in tins decorated with Mao-era propaganda art, and Annabel Lee Shanghai (No. 1, Lane 8 Zhongshan East Road) for a gorgeous selection of lush silk accessories.

Across the river in Pudong, the sparkling IFC Mall (8 Century Avenue) is one of the city’s best, and is home to an excellent food court and supermarket in the basement. Directly opposite, Super Brand Mall (168 Lujiazui Road W) is one of Asia’s largest retail complexes, featuring a staggering 13 storeys of high-street labels, plus an Egyptian-themed cineplex and an ice-skating rink.

Shopping in a Tianzafing backstreet, Shanghai. Photo: Shutterstock

Art and antiques

The M50 art district at 50 Moganshan Road beside Suzhou Creek is the place to pick up a piece of contemporary Chinese art from the myriad galleries and artists’ workshops. Vanguard Gallery (Bldg 4), OV Gallery (Room 207) and ShanghART (Building 16) come recommended.

Dongtai Road Antique Market, close to the Old City, is a street market lined with outdoor hawkers selling 'Mao-morabilia' and fun repro-antique trinkets that make great souvenirs. Be prepared to haggle. For genuine art deco antiques, duck into the established stores set back from the street. 

Shanghai is close to China’s freshwater pearling areas, and you can pick up well-priced pearls, and have them strung, at Hongqiao Pearl Market (3721 Hongmei Road). Porcelain and other wares can be purchased at the Shanghai Jingdezhen Porcelain Store (Nanjing West Road), while tea and Yixing pots are plentiful at the Shanghai Huangshan Tea Company (605 Huaihai Road C).

M50, a contemporary art district, has many galleries located in an old industrial area in Shanghai. Photo: ShutterstockM50, a contemporary district home to many art galleries. Photo: Shutterstock

Custom-made clothing

Custom tailor shops are everywhere in Shanghai. One of the best – with top-drawer prices to match – is the French Tailor (7 Dongping Road). Equally fine threads can be had at Dave’s Custom Tailoring (No.6, Lane 288 Wuyuan Road).

At the cheap and cheerful end of the spectrum is the South Bund Fabric Market (399 Lujiabang Road), a three-storey warren of small stores selling bolts of material in every guise. Tailors stand ready with scissors and thread once you’ve made your choice, and they can whip up custom copies of your own clothing or one of their designs in as little as 24 hours.

Ready to experience Shanghai shopping?

Our local experts can plan the ultimate shopping trip to Shanghai for you. To get started, simply get in touch telling us when you'd like to visit, and your travel preferences. We will then create an itinerary for you, which you can amend until you are completely satisfied. Alternatively, you can browse our existing itineraries for inspiration. And remember, all of our existing itineraries can be customised to suit your needs – all you have to do is ask!