April data shows visitors are driving Hong Kong retail sales recovery

Hong Kong retail sales are soaring after the reopening of the border with Mainland China, with a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in April hard on the heels of March’s 40.8 per cent surge. 

The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) said that for the first four months of this year, total Hong Kong retail sales have increased by 21.7 per cent year on year. 

A government spokesman credited the increase to visitor arrivals and “continued improvement in consumption sentiment”. 

“Looking ahead, the revival of inbound tourism and local consumption demand should continue to help the retail sector’s performance.” So, too, would the ongoing disbursement of consumption vouchers by the Hong Kong government to local consumers, they said. 

Reflecting a return to in-store shopping, online sales in April accounted for 6.4 per cent of overall sales, a decline of 11.9 per cent from April last year. For the first four months of this year, online sales are estimated to have decreased in value by 6.9 per cent. 

After netting out the effect of inflation, April’s Hong Kong retail sales were estimated to have increased by 13.3 per cent, and for the first four months of the year by 19.9 per cent. 

Reflecting the impact of the return of visitors to the territory, the highest-growing retail category in April was jewellery and watches, where sales were up by 75 per cent year on year. 

Apparel sales rose 38.6 per cent, cosmetics by 34.8 per cent and books by 29.9 per cent. 

Categories to reflect sales declines included supermarkets, down 7.9 per cent, electrical goods by 13.1 per cent, and furniture and fixtures by 26 per cent. 

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