Hong Kong Economic Growth, Nov. 2023: Retail & Tourism

HK Retail Sales Surge 15.9% in Nov., Boosted by Inbound Tourism

The retail sector experienced a significant boost in November, with total retail sales reaching HKD$34.2 billion, marking a remarkable 15.9% increase compared to the same month in 2022. According to the Census & Statistics Department, after accounting for price changes, the provisional estimate still reflects an impressive 12.4% year-on-year growth.

Online sales, however, witnessed a contrasting trend. Accounting for 9.3% of total retail sales, online sales in November were provisionally estimated at HKD$3.2 billion, experiencing a decline of 16.1% compared to the previous year. This dip in online sales highlights the shifting consumer behaviour and preferences amid changing market dynamics.

Several categories within the retail industry saw growth. Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks, and valuable gifts surged by an impressive 60.8%, indicating increased consumer interest in luxury goods. Other consumer goods not elsewhere classified witnessed a solid growth of 29%, while apparel saw a significant rise of 54.1%. Commodities in department stores, food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco, medicines and cosmetics, footwear, and Chinese pharmaceuticals and herbs also experienced notable increases.

However, certain categories faced challenges. Sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased by 5% compared to the previous year, indicating a potential shift in consumer preferences towards other retail options. Motor vehicles and parts experienced a decline of 22.9%, while fuels and furniture and fixtures saw drops of 12.8% and 13.1% respectively.

The Government attributed the visible increase in total retail sales to the revival of inbound tourism. Furthermore, it anticipated that the ongoing recovery in inbound tourism, along with improved household income, would continue to support the retail sector. The Government and the industry are also launching various promotional campaigns and activities to further bolster the retail market.

As the retail sector moves forward, it is poised to benefit from the expected increase in inbound tourism and the positive impact of promotional efforts. These factors, combined with improving household income, are likely to create a favourable environment for the growth and sustained success of the retail industry in the coming months.

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