Customers form a long queue outside a luxury goods store in Tsim Sha Tsui in south China's Hong Kong on May 1, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong retail sales saw a substantial year-on-year increase in March, the fourth consecutive month of growth, as consumer and visitor spending continued to improve, according to official data released on Thursday.
The provisional estimate of total retail sales surged by a record 40.9 percent year-on-year to almost HK$33.6 billion ($4.28 billion), slightly more than February’s HK$33.1 billion, the Census and Statistics Department revealed.
Online sales in March accounted for 7.6 percent of total retail sales. The value fell 8.6 percent to HK$2.6 billion, representing a third consecutive month of decline
For the first three months this year, the provisional figure is estimated at HK$102.8 billion, 24.1 percent higher than for the same period of 2022.
The spike in retail sales can be partially attributed to an improvement in consumption sentiment, and the comparatively low base in 2022 also allowed plenty of room for improvement, a government spokesman said in a statement.
He added that the recovery of inbound tourism and private spending is expected to boost the development of the retail sector. On top of that, the rolling out of a new round of consumption vouchers will further serve as a stimulus.
Online sales in March accounted for 7.6 percent of total retail sales. The value fell 8.6 percent to HK$2.6 billion, representing a third consecutive month of decline.
Sales of footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories jumped 187.9 percent in value from a year ago to HK$528 million, leading the retail surge, followed by sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts, which rose nearly 1.65 times from March last year.
Bond Law, executive director of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, said in a news conference on Thursday that retail sales during the May Day holiday have recovered about 40 percent of the level in pre-pandemic years.
Although it may take at least nine months for Hong Kong’s retail industry to fully shake off the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Law added that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government remains optimistic about the sector’s prospects.
Contact the writer at email@example.com