Retail in Asia


China’s Golden Week retail sales disappoint, Hainan remains bright spot

China reported soft retail sales and tourism numbers during its all-important week-long national holiday period, as increases in both visitor footfall and consumer spending in the nation’s Hainan region failed to offset an overall decline in 2021.

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Tourism revenues in China during the Golden Week holiday ending 7th October fell by almost 5 percent year-on-year, according to data release by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, totalling US$60.36 billion. The sales figures during the holiday period, which kicked off on 1st October, was only about 60 percent of what it was in 2019, and was down 4.7 percent on 2020, data showed.

Domestic tourist trips across China for the seven days were also down 1.5 percent, to 515 million, compared to 2020, and were just over 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the Ministry revealed.

Despite the overall domestic decline, sales at nine duty-free shops in China’s island province of Hainan increased 75 percent on last year, totalling some US$252.3 million from 1st to 6th October, Chinese state media revealed. The 2021 figure was a whopping 359 percent increase on the same period in 2019, the report added.

According to CGTN total revenue on 5th October alone skyrocketed to over US$48.1 million, up 84 percent, while duty free sales rose 78 percent to US$42.7 million.

Data from Haikou Customs also showed that Hainan’s offshore duty-free shops welcomed 180,000 customers through their doors, up 136 percent on last year, and sold 200,000 pieces of duty-free merchandise, up 61.6 percent.

Strong promotional activity by all nine duty free retail locations and extended brand ranges in some of the newer stores helped drive the performance, said the media outlet.

Dubbed ‘China’s Haiwaii’, Hainan has become a popular destination for Chinese shoppers who used to travel overseas – to neighbouring luxury Hong Kong and as far as Europe – before the pandemic to buy luxury goods, and is reaping the rewards of local shoppers staying home due to travel restrictions.

SEE ALSO : Hainan’s offshore duty free sales hit US$26.53 million on Chinese National Day

Luxury houses and international brands alike are starting to capitalise on the Hainan tourist shopping trend with several activations and pop-ups taking place across the district, from companies such as Ferragamo, Rolex and Audemars Piguet.