Retail in Asia

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Hong Kong retail sales plummet 15 percent in April on visitor spending drop

Hong Kong retail sales in April plummeted 14.7 percent from a year ago, hindered by a drop in visitor spending and a surge in outbound trips during the Easter holidays.

SEE ALSO: Hong Kong aims to capitalise on events economy in 2024

Sales decreased to HKD 29.6 billion (USD 3.79 billion) for the second time this year, following a 7 percent drop in March, according to government data.

In volume terms, retail sales fell 16.5 percent in April, compared with an 8.7 percent decline in March.

By category, jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts fell 28.7 percent, while electrical goods took a 26.5 percent dive in April. Elsewhere, footwear and other clothing accessories dropped 26.3 percent, and Chinese drugs and herbs were 25.1 percent.

Sales of car and motor parts, however, went up by 58.5 per cent year-on-year.

“The changing consumption patterns of visitors and residents would continue to present challenges to the retail sector,” a government spokesman said.

“Nevertheless, the revival of inbound tourism, rising employment earnings, and the recent stabilisation of asset markets would provide support.”

April visitor arrivals stood at 3.39 million, up 17.3 percent from last year, data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board showed. That compared with 3.4 million in March, 4 million in February and 3.8 million in January.

Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced last month that the city is set to host an impressive lineup of over 100 mega events in the latter half of the year, bringing the total number of ‘mega events’ to over 210 events by the end of 2024 to capitalise on the events economy.

The events are expected to bring in an estimated 1.7 million visitors from around the world, an influx that the government expects will add up to HKD 4.3 billion to the economy.