HK retail sales rise 8.4 per cent year-on-year in first half of 2021

04-Aug-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s retail sales rose 8.4 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2021 as the local Covid-19 situation stabilised, with the government’s consumption voucher scheme expected to boost spending in the coming months.

Provisional figures released by the Census and Statistics Department on Monday showed sales for June totalled HK$28.1 billion (US$3.6 billion), up 5.8 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Online retail sales in June increased 63.8 per cent year-on-year, reaching HK$2.3 billion to account for 8.1 per cent of the total value. Online retail growth in the first half of 2021 was 54.9 per cent.

A government spokesman said retail sales had risen in June on the back of stronger consumer demand amid improvements in the local coronavirus epidemic and labour market.

For the second quarter as a whole, the volume of retail sales grew by 3.6 per cent from the preceding three-month period.

“Yet with incoming visitors remaining scant, retail sales stayed far below the pre-recession level,” the spokesman said.

“To create conditions for further improvement in retail business and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination,” he said.

The spokesman said the government’s HK$36 billion e-voucher programme would help to stimulate consumer spending.

Annie Tse Yau On-yee, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, said consumer sentiment remained weak in July, but expected the scheme to greatly boost retail sales in August.

Eligible Hong Kong residents are entitled to HK$5,000 worth of e-vouchers in phases. The first batch of coupons amounting to HK$2,000 went live on Sunday.

Tse said some association members had reported a sales surge of more than 50 per cent on Sunday. “The overall spending sentiment is really good,” she said.

Some families were pooling together their HK$2,000 vouchers to pay for higher-value items. Octopus was the most popular way of payment, Tse added.

The industry leader predicted the scheme would benefit a range of sectors, not just retail. “Overall, we estimate that the retail sector will register a rise in sales of over 10 per cent. But we need to see if this momentum can last,” she said.

By category, sales for motor vehicles and parts jumped the highest in June, growing 36 per cent year-on-year, followed by jewellery, watches and valuable gifts with 31.8 per cent growth. However, sales at bricks-and-mortar supermarkets fell 7 per cent year-on-year in June, while department store sales also declined 20.3 per cent.

Hong Kong has since February 2019 been reeling from a retail slump, which worsened over months of anti-government protests, and later, the coronavirus pandemic.


Category: Hong Kong

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