Retail sales fell by 4.5% in April
Mild Increase in May was expected due to May Golden Week
6 June 2019

The Government released the latest retail sales figures of April. The total retail sales value was HK$37.7 billion, dipped by 4.5% comparing with the same month of last year. The sales value of Jewellery, Watches and Clocks, and Valuable Gifts, and Consumer Durable Goods decreased by double-digit at 11.4% and 10.5% respectively; while the commodities in Department Stores, and Medicines and Cosmetics turned to negative sales growth in April.

The drop in the retail sales value in April was mainly due to sluggish local spending, resulting from overseas travel during Easter Holiday and poor weather. Furthermore, the late arrival of the May Golden Week this year, from 1 to 4 May 2019 (2018: 30 April to 1 May), delayed the Mainland tourists' spending from April to May. Against this backdrop, the Association projects that the retail sales value for the month of May would have a mild increase.

In the past few months, mild growth in the retail sales values was observed during festivals and holidays, reflecting a depressed market atmosphere and prudent consumer spending on normal days. We foresee that this pattern would persist especially under the protracted China-US trade tensions and continued uncertainties in the external environment. At the moment, the Association maintains the forecast of a flat to low single-digit growth in sales value for 2019 as a whole. However, if the recent political issue of Hong Kong lingered, this forecast would have to be updated in due course.

In order to keep our members updated about the latest smart retailing trends and opportunities, we will organize a Smart Retailing Conference on 27 June, inviting heavyweight speakers to share their insights on Hong Kong consumers' online retailing attitude, e-payment development, and best O2O contract fulfillment. Two other Smart Retailing Workshops will also be held in July, focusing on mobile payment and cyber security respectively. Please register now and stay tuned for the latest market practices.