Retail sales dropped by 1.2% in Q1
HKRMA expects market will remain sluggish this year
20 May 2019

The Government released the latest retail sales figures. In March, the total retail sales value was HK$39.7 billion, edged down by 0.2% comparing with the same month of last year. For the first quarter of 2019, the total sales value decreased by 1.2% year-on-year. Despite the increase of 24% of inbound visitor number over the first two days of the May Golden Week, member companies expected the May Golden Week's sales value to be similar to or achieve a slight growth against last year's, owing to the high base in 2018.

The shopping pattern of visitors has been changing over time, from focusing on high-ticket items to mainly shopping for daily necessities. As such, growth in sales value is seen on items from Supermarkets, Medicines and Cosmetics, and Department Stores in March, while there is a decrease in sales value of Jewellery, Watches and Clocks, and Valuable Gifts. Specifically, the sales value of Electrical Goods and Other Consumer Durable Goods recorded a decrease as large as 15.6%. As the China-US trade conflicts continue to dampen consumer sentiment, HKRMA expects the retail market to remain sluggish this year.

On the other hand, the Government announced that the latest unemployment rate stood at 2.8%. In particular, due to the sustained expansion on inbound tourism, the unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food services sectors declined further. Although the adoption of technology can reduce manpower dependence, retailers still find the talent shortage problem extremely serious. In order to understand the industry's future talent development and demand, HKRMA will soon release a report with KPMG, suggesting possible solutions to tackle the situation.

Lastly, our annual Retail Summit ended on a high note on 17 May, with the participation of over 700 retailers. Twenty-two heavyweight speakers shared their keys to success on retail transformation. The presentation files have been uploaded to our website for viewing.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank all the speakers, moderators, sponsors, media partners, and supporting organizations for their tremendous support!