Hong Kong retail sales rise 13 per cent as inbound tourism surges

(Source: Bigstock)

Continued revival of inbound tourism and private consumption helped Hong Kong’s retail sales notch a 10th consecutive month of growth in September, though it was slower than in previous months, official data showed on Wednesday.

Sales increased 13 per cent year-on-year to $4.06 billion in September, the city government said, but the growth was the slowest pace since January when it was at 6.9 per cent.

Retail sales rose by 13.7 per cent in August and 16.7 per cent in July.

“Continued improvement in household income and the government’s various support initiatives, including the Night Vibes Hong Kong Campaign, should also provide support,” a government spokesman said, adding further recovery of visitor arrivals should benefit the retail sector.

In volume terms, September retail sales increased 10.1 per cent year-on-year. That compared with an 11 per cent growth in August and a 14.2 per cent rise in July.

For the first nine months, retail sales value rose 18.6 per cent year-on-year while volume grew 16.5 per cent.

Hong Kong’s economy grew 4.1 per cent from a year earlier in the third quarter, data showed on Tuesday, accelerating from the 1.5 per cent expansion in the second quarter and the 2.9 per cent in the first, but missing the 5.2 per cent median forecast of economists polled by Reuters.

In August, the government revised up its economic growth forecast for 2023 to between 4.0 per cent and 5.0 per cent.

Visitor arrivals for September were 2.77 million, bringing the total for the first nine months of 2023 to 23.32 million, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board preliminary data. That compared with last year’s 66,037 and 249,699, respectively, when China was still in the grip of Covid restrictions.

The number of mainland Chinese visitors decreased to 2.16 million in September from 3.43 million in August, the data showed. That compared with 51,282 in September 2022.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts, which before the pandemic were mostly bought by mainland tourists, rose 27.3 per cent year-on-year in September after a 57.2 per cent
jump in August, data showed.

Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories grew 36.4 per cent on the year in September after a 37.4 per cent increase in August.

  • Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, of Reuters.

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