November Retail Sales Post Slowest Growth in 17 Months
18 Jan 2019

The Government released the latest retail sales figures on 3 January. In November 2018, the sales value estimated at HK$39.2 billion, growth rate decelerated from 6% in October to 1.4%. The sales of Electrical Goods and Other Consumer Durable Goods, as well as Wearing Apparel turned from positive growth to negative growth. Likewise, the sales value of Jewellery, Watches, Clocks and Valuable Gifts declined by 3.9%, which was the first drop since June 2017.

Despite visitor arrivals increased by 20.6% in November 2018, representing almost 6 million visitor arrivals to Hong Kong, the growth in retail sales in fact decelerated in the same month. Among all visitors, same day visitors from the Mainland recorded the highest growth at 40.3%, but these visitors mostly shopped for daily necessities which only have limited impact on retail sales growth.

Considering the China-US trade conflicts, depreciation of yuan, and volatile stock and property markets, both local and the Mainland consumer sentiment will be increasingly cautious. The impact for retailers of high-end luxury products is expected to be the biggest.

The majority of our member companies are conservative over the retail market outlook, expecting the growth rate in sales to be further decelerated. Depending on the performance of Q1, the Association maintains our forecast of low single-digit growth for year 2019 as a whole.

At the start of the year and as the Chinese New Year is approaching, may I wish fellow retailers a happy and prosperous Year of the Pig. The Association will continue to drive the development of the Hong Kong retail industry, especially in leading the industry to achieve new business models towards the new era of retail. If you are not yet a member of HKRMA, please don't miss the chance to join us and enjoy our exclusive members' benefits.