Hong Kong Retail Sales Still Struggling to Recover

Hong Kong Retail

Hong Kong’s hard-luxury market saw its weakest growth figure for six months as the retail sector’s rebound ran out of steam amid a lack of tourism.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts grew 27% year on year to HKD 3.2 billion ($410.6 million) in July but was still 42% lower than in the same month of 2019, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday. The increase was also gentler than June’s 32% year-on-year growth and was the thinnest rise since January, when Hong Kong was struggling with a fourth coronavirus wave.

“Retail sales continued to increase in July over a year earlier as the local epidemic remained stable and labor market situations improved further, although the growth pace moderated somewhat as compared to the preceding month,” a government spokesperson said.

Sales in all retail categories rose 3% year on year to HKD 27.24 billion ($3.5 billion) but were down 21% from two years earlier.

The closure of borders to reduce the spread of Covid-19 has hit Hong Kong — a key luxury destination for tourists. Although the municipality has reduced its border restrictions, tourism has not yet returned to normal levels. The number of visitors was down 58% year on year in July and plummeted 99% for the first seven months of the year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

However, the government expects sales to pick up in August amid the launch of a consumption voucher scheme — a program to stimulate spending by offering citizens electronic vouchers worth HKD 5,000 ($644).

“The electronic vouchers that the government began to disburse in August have helped stimulate consumption sentiment and will render support to the retail business in the rest of the year,” the spokesperson explained. “Yet, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination, so as to strengthen the foundation for continued recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy.”

For the first seven months of 2021, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts climbed 33% year on year to HKD 21.94 billion ($2.81 billion). Revenue from all retail segments increased 8% to HKD 201.6 billion ($25.87 billion).

Source: Diamonds.net

Hong Kong Retail Sales Plunge

Hong Kong Retail data

Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong slid in October, marking the second-highest monthly decline on record as protests in the municipality dented consumer sentiment.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts fell 43% year on year to HKD 3.92 billion ($500.2 million) during the month, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Monday. . Sales across all retail categories slipped 24% to HKD 30.12 billion ($3.85 billion).

Demonstrations against an extradition bill have been ongoing since June, interfering with retail sales and hitting local consumer sentiment and tourism. Although the bill has been scrapped, violence in the municipality has continued.

“[Total] retail sales continued to plunge in October, and showed the largest year-on-year decline for a single month on record, as the local social incidents…depressed consumption sentiment and severely disrupted tourism and consumption-related activities,” a government spokesperson noted.

August showed the highest decline for jewelry since the Census and Statistics Department began publishing results in 2005. While January was the only month this year to note an increase, leading to a nine-month consecutive decline, sales during August, September and October each fell more than 40%.

The situation has led to a sharp drop in travelers from China and abroad, as well as weakened local purchasing. Tourism in Hong Kong was down 44% to 3.3 million visitors in October, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reported. Of those, 2.5 million came from mainland China, 46% fewer than the same period last year.

The government expects weakness in the market to continue as conditions persist, stressing that the market would likely not improve until the unrest subsided.

“Ending the violence in the local social incidents and restoring social order are crucial to the creation of an environment for the retail business to recover,” the spokesperson added, noting the government would continue to monitor the situation’s repercussions on both the municipality’s labor market and the overall economy.

In the first 10 months of the year, retail sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts decreased 19% to HKD 57.67 billion ($7.37 billion). Sales in all retail categories for the January-to-October period fell 9% to HKD 365.12 billion ($46.6 billion).

Source: Diamonds.net