As global uncertainties continue to cast a shadow over consumer sentiment, Hong Kong’s total retail sales are expected to decline 5 percent to HK$460 billion in 2019, according to PwC Hong Kong.
PwC has further cut its forecast for HK’s retail sales – from a 3% drop – amid the protracted Sino-US trade row, equity market turbulence and the yuan’s volatility
According to the company’s data, Hong Kong’s total retail sales in the first four months of this year had dropped 2 percent, with luxury and electrical goods bearing the brunt of the decline. Only consumer goods, such as health and beauty products, managed to record modest growth.
Michael Cheng Wun-yin – consumer markets leader of PwC Asia Pacific Hong Kong and Chinese mainland – expects the downward trend to continue in the second half.
“Individual consumption power is becoming weaker,” he said. “For the time being, we can’t see any stimulus for the retail market to recover.”
Hong Kong received 23.81 million visitors in the first four months of 2019 – up 13.9 percent from the same period a year ago – according to the Tourism Board. The number of Chinese mainland tourists dwindled 16.1 percent year-on-year, accounting for nearly 80 percent.
“Thanks to improving infrastructure, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the high-speed railway, the number of mainland visitors hit a new high in January. But, tourist arrivals have begun falling for three consecutive months since February,” said Cheng.
He said tensions in the SAR sparked by the controversy over the extradition law amendments had affected spending by mainland visitors to a certain extent.
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