With a minimum wage of $385 USD and salaries up to $2,000 USD, the purchasing power you have in Quito depends on your income.
Generally, supermarkets are perceived as relatively expensive, but it really depends on what you buy. Basic items, like rice and local fruits and vegetables are very affordable. More luxury items and imports can be pretty expensive, like wine. Similar for clothing, imported clothes are more expensive than nationally produced items because of taxes.
Examples of average supermarket prices:
Examples of restaurant prices:
See the website of Numbeo for more prices.
Ecuador has many natural goods and handcrafts that make for unique souvenirs and keepsakes.
Several coffee varieties are produced here. Ecuadorian coffee comes from the Galapagos to Lojano and is usually arabica and robusta.
Tagua Jewelry is a vegetable ivory and quite unique. Produced from palm trees, it is used to make jewelry and ornaments for as little as $3.
Ecuador is also famous for its delicious chocolate. Once its largest export, brands like Republica del Cacao, Pacari Chocolate, and La Universal are popular.
Panama Hats are surprisingly not from Panama. They are actually a product of Ecuador and you can buy a specially made hat for just $25.
Leather goods are another great item to buy in Ecuador. The town of Cotacachi is particularly renowned for its leather and whole streets are dedicated to selling leather goods.
Woven products from tablecloths to hammocks to trim are quite popular. Indigenous women wear colorful woven belts, or you can buy a colorful poncho. Look for local alpaca wool.
In Quito, most shops are located in shopping malls. You find them all over the city in many types, from old and small ones to new and large ones, like Quicentro Norte, Quicentro Sur, and Scala in Cumbaya.
In the historical centre you also find good places to go shopping, depending on what you are looking for. The Mariscal neighborhood is great for shopping.
Another place for shopping is a local market. Here, you can find much more than fruits and vegetables; meat, crafts, and sometimes even furniture and clothing. Prices are cheaper at markets than supermarkets, but you definitely have to bargain.
Like supermarkets, markets are all over town. One of the best markets is Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal.
In Quito, a few supermarket chains dominate the market. Many people buy their main groceries in supermarkets once a week and buy some things in between in small shops (tiendas) that are found in each neighbourhood. Main supermarket chains in Quito: