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Hong Kong Retail Sales Hit 14-Year Low

May 5, 2020 10:52 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong plummeted to their lowest level in nearly 14 years in the first quarter as the coronavirus spread through the region, government figures show.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts dropped 64% year on year to HKD 8.14 billion ($1.05 billion) for the three months ending March 31, as the municipality went into lockdown and tourism came to a standstill. Sales in all retail categories slid 35% to HKD 83.5 billion ($10.77 billion), Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday.

The figure for jewelry was the lowest for a single quarter since 2006, according to the data. In February, the government imposed a two-week quarantine on tourists visiting from the mainland — an important source of luxury sales — and stores closed to contain the virus.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts slumped 75% to HKD 1.66 billion ($213.6 million) in March, the second-steepest monthly decline on record after February. Sales in all retail categories for the month dropped 42% to HKD 23.04 billion ($2.97 billion).

“Retail sales continued to plummet in March as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting anti-epidemic measures brought inbound tourism to a standstill and seriously disrupted consumption-related activities,” a government spokesperson said.

In the first quarter, the number of tourists visiting the territory plunged 81% to 3.5 million, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Of those, 2.7 million came from mainland China, an 82% decline over the same period in 2019. In March, tourism to Hong Kong nearly halted: Visitor numbers slid 99% to 82,285, with 30,370 arriving from the mainland, 99% less than the previous year.

The government believes the situation will continue to decline over the next few months, as uncertainty weighs down the market.

“The business environment for retail trade will remain very difficult in the near term amid the deep economic recession and sharp deterioration in the labor market,” the spokesperson added. “The government will monitor the developments closely.”

Image: Hong Kong. (Pexels)
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Tags: Census and Statistics Department, COVID-19, hong kong retail, Hong Kong retail data, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Rapaport News
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