Retail in Asia


Here’s how Hong Kong retailers can bounce back and prepare for Greater Bay Area shoppers

Greater Bay Area (GBA) tourists are ready to start shopping in Hong Kong again, according to a new McKinsey & Company survey. Following the reopening of the border in January, the consulting firm surveyed 1,155 mainland travellers between the ages of 25 to 55 in February 2023. 

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The survey found 85 percent of respondents cited shopping and sightseeing as the main purpose for their next trip to Hong Kong, with a third planning to visit within the next 12 months.

With neighbouring cities catching up, McKinsey noted that in order for Hong Kong to retain its appeal to shoppers from the Greater Bay Area, companies must deliver improved digital experiences and improve quality of services.

Retail in Asia looks at the key findings of the survey.

The appetite for luxury goods remains strong

The majority of respondents plan to spend on luxury goods (including leather goods, watches, and jewellery), with average spend estimated to reach RMB 36,400 (USD $5,317) per GBA traveller. Around 10 percent cited Hainan duty-free and Macau as alternative destinations for luxury shopping in the next three years. 

Furthermore, respondents ranked the top advantages of shopping in the special administrative region: access to the latest trends (61 percent), better product safety (60 percent), and higher quality products (59 percent).

Prioritising the digital experience is a must

“While Hong Kong continues to enjoy several advantages as a shopping destination for GBA travellers, Hong Kong has fallen behind in a few critical areas such as digital experience and service quality,” said Arthur Shek, managing partner at McKinsey’s Hong Kong office.

Exposed to seamless omnichannel shopping experiences on the mainland, GBA travellers will increasingly expect the same in Hong Kong.

Mobile wallets are also the preferred method of payment for small-value transactions (below RMB 5,000).

GBA consumers are interested in brands that also have a presence in the GBA

In approaching consumers from both Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, a holistic, pan-GBA approach is necessary. 

Almost half of respondents (45 percent) said they preferred to shop for brands they have encountered in the GBA, while 46 percent they were indifferent.

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“Hong Kong firms need to gain a better understanding of Mainland China tourists’ needs,” said Jady Ye, associate partner at McKinsey Hong Kong.

“Perceptions of Hong Kong have changed in the past few years, and can be shaped through proactive marketing and branding efforts. Now is the time to step up investment on these fronts.”