Hong Kong shoppers searching for value

Consumer sentiment remains cautious, with Hong Kong shoppers focussed and moving away from ostentatious buying, instead favouring less expensive items.
This finding emerged in the 2015 Christmas sales report issued by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), with its principal economist (global research) Daniel Poon saying that value for money is key for shoppers, with more and more of them using the internet to find product information and compare prices.
“In this context, importers and retailers will remain conservative, with many still expected to play safe in terms of order size, lead time and pricing. Many are also expected to expand their e-tailing activities in order to shore up their sales, while diversifying their sourcing and manufacturing away from the mainland to other lower-cost production bases throughout Asia.”
Other trends identified in the report were more global in nature, including a growth in demand for consumer electronic items such as TVs, tablets, smartphones and wearable technology. Toys related to new licensed merchandise, such as Star Wars items, were in particularly strong demand.
Using mobile devices and social networks to search for gift ideas and make online price comparisons continued to be the norm while e-tailers, including most bricks-and-mortar retailers with websites and mobile apps, took advantage of the trend to boost sales.
Global Christmas sales for 2015 performed steadily overall, according to the report, which highlighted varied sales patterns in different regions, earmarking as bright spots the US and Europe, most notably the UK and Germany. End-of-year retail sales are regarded as a bellwether for the ensuing year.
On the Chinese mainland, the year-end shopping spree was boosted by the rising popularity of Singles’ Day (November 11), with retail sales for that month expanding 11.2 per cent year-on-year. Japan also performed strongly, with sales rising more than five per cent, thanks largely to an influx of tourists from the mainland. Other promising markets included Mexico and emerging European economies such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
In China, the retail climate has become more positive, says the report, indicating that pro-consumption measures are starting to take effect. Retail and online sales grow on the back of intense discounts and promotions, with a strong demand for consumer electronics and mobile phones.
Growing sales for household appliances may indicate a bottoming-out of the property market, while poor air quality prompted rising sales of air purifiers and humidifiers. There were steady sales of fashion products such as clothing, footwear and accessories as well as toys.
In Japan, local shoppers have stayed timid, says the report, opting for basics as year-end gifts.
Price cuts and promotions are needed to attract shoppers, who favour discount stores and e-tailers.
As well as consumer electronics, healthcare electronic devices, toys and rice cookers were big hits.

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