Aug 06, 2019

Mass Protests Hit Hong Kong Retail Sales: Overall 6.7% Decline in June; Jewellery & Watches Down 17.1%

The massive citizen’s protests in Hong Kong against a proposed new legislation relating to extradition have significantly impacted consumer sentiment leading to a 6.7% drop in total retail sales in June 2019, according to data released by the government last week.

The HK Census and Statistics Department stated that retail sales in June stood at HK$ 35.2 billion, the fifth consecutive month of y-o-y decline. In volume terms the fall was 7.6% during the month, the department reported.

A statement issued by the government noted, “Near-term performance of retail sales will likely remain subdued, as the weakened global and local economic outlook and other headwinds continue to weigh on consumption sentiment.”

The spokesperson added, “The recent mass demonstrations, if continued, would also dent the retail business further. The government will continue to monitor the situation.”

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts registered the largest fall in June, down by 17.1% year on year, and other categories such as apparel, motor vehicles, electrical goods, etc. also fell significantly.

Government figures also revealed a slowdown in tourist arrivals – the 19.5% increase reported in May was followed by a much lower 8.5% increase in arrivals in June.

Total retail sales across all categories are now down 2.6% in value terms over the first half of the year with a 3.1% dip in volume terms, figures collated by the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA) indicated.

The association also noted that its member companies are very concerned about the prolonged protests in different parts of the city, and based on feedback it now expects a single to double-digit drop in sales for July and August 2019.