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Hong Kong Luxury Sales Hit Decade Low

Feb 4, 2020 9:35 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong slid in 2019 to their lowest level in 10 years, as social challenges continued to hinder tourism and weaken consumer sentiment.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts fell 22% to HKD 66.2 billion ($8.52 billion) for the year, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday. That represents the weakest figure since 2010’s total of HKD 60.96 billion, according to Rapaport calculations based on government records. Sales across all retail categories slipped 11% to HKD 431.17 billion ($55.52 billion).

Purchases of jewelry and other luxury goods in December fell 37% to HKD 5.22 billion ($671.5 million). Sales for all retail categories dropped 19% to HKD 36.19 billion ($4.66 billion) for the month, marking the 11th consecutive month of declines.

Retail sales in Hong Kong have been hit by protracted demonstrations against an extradition bill, which have been ongoing since June. Although the bill has since been scrapped, unrest in the municipality has continued to grow, affecting tourism and local consumer sentiment. The recent coronavirus outbreak in the municipality has also dented sales.

“Retail sales continued to decline sharply in December, as the impact of the local social incidents on consumption- and tourism-related activities remained severe,” a government spokesperson noted. “The business environment for retail trade has become even more difficult recently, with the threat of the novel coronavirus infection heavily weighing on inbound tourism and local consumption sentiment.”

Tourism in Hong Kong was down 52% year on year to 3.2 million visitors in December, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reported. Of those, 2.4 million came from mainland China, 53% fewer than the same period last year. Total visitor arrivals fell 14% to 55.9 million during the year.

The government expects weakness in the market to continue as conditions persist, stressing that the full extent cannot be gauged until the spread of the coronavirus is known.

“The near-term outlook for retail sales depends critically on how the situation of the novel coronavirus infection will evolve,” the spokesperson added. “The government will monitor the situation closely.”

Image: Hong Kong. (Pxhere)
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Tags: Census and Statistics Department, hong kong retail, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Rapaport News
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