Hong Kong has been named Asia Pacific’s top shopping city in Global Blue’s expanded Globe Shopper Index.
And there was a surprise in second place: Singapore which might have the reputation as a key shopping destination finished fifth, with Kuala LUmpur the runner up ahead of Shanghai and Beijing.
Hong Kong headed 25 other Asia Pacific cities in the rankings, which measures how cities successfully attract international travellers to shop. The rankings are based on five categories covering shops, affordability, convenience, hotels and transport and culture and climate.
“Shopping is closely related to tourism and is indeed one of the most popular activities among travellers to Hong Kong,” said Daisy Lui, deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).
An HKTB survey showed that in the first half of 2012, overnight visitors to Hong Kong spent more than HK$50.4 billion (US$6.5 billion) on shopping during their visits, bringing substantial economic benefits to the city’s retail sector and the economy at large.
“The HKTB will certainly continue its endeavours to promote shopping and other tourism appeals of Hong Kong to global travellers, and encourage them to experience the city first-hand, so that we can create even more business opportunities for our tourism, retail and related sectors,” added Lui.
Hong Kong secured the number one spot because of its long sales seasons, and the high diversity of brands available in the many luxury goods stores in the city. It also scored top marks as a safe city.
However, it scored poorly on affordability as it has some of the priciest hotels and public transport of Index cities. The high price of goods, such as watches, clothing and perfume also held it back.
Global Blue data also shows that Europe remains the favourite destination for extended shopping vacations for globe shoppers from Hong Kong. In 2011, Hong Kong shoppers spent €140 million (US$180.6 million) in Europe.
It has been revealed that Hong Kong international shoppers particularly like to shop in Paris and London, home markets for many international brands. According to the Index both these cities are characterised strongly by a wide variety of stores and brands and excellent restaurants and other cultural attractions.
Global Blue also disclosed that travellers from Hong Kong, like all Chinese shoppers, want to be assured of the quality and heritage of the brands they buy, another reason why they regularly visit Europe, as well as the opportunity to shop tax free.