Hong Kong Feb retail sales rise 1.9% as tourism extends recovery

Hong Kong Feb retail sales rise 1.9% as tourism extends recovery

/ 05:50 PM April 03, 2024

Hong Kong Feb retail sales rise 1.9% as tourism extends recovery

Mainland Chinese travellers on low-cost tours walk to a tourist bus after lunch at To Kwa Wan in Hong Kong, China March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File photo

HONG KONG  — Hong Kong’s retail sales rose for the 15th straight month in February boosted by continuing growth in tourism and consumption, official data showed on Wednesday.

Sales in February rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier to HK$33.8 billion ($4.32 billion), the Hong Kong government said. That compared with 0.9 percent growth in January, 7.8 percent rise in December and 15.9 percent jump in November.


“As handling capacity continues to recover and more mega events are staged, inbound tourism is expected to revive further and benefit the retail sector,” a government spokesman said.


The government’s initiatives in boosting consumption sentiment should also provide support, the spokesman added.

READ: Hong Kong luxury retailers adjust to drop in high-spending China tourists

In terms of volume, retail sales increased 0.5 percent in February. That compared with January’s 1.2 percent fall, the first decline in volume terms since December 2022, when it slipped 0.6 percent. It grew 4.8 percent in December 2023 and was up 12.4 percent in November.

Economy seen to grow 2.5-3.5%

Hong Kong’s economy is expected to grow 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year after expanding 3.2 percent in 2023 as the city struggles to revive its economy following the COVID-19 pandemic while battling mounting deficits and economic headwinds.

READ: Hong Kong leads Asian markets higher, traders assess Fed plans

The government plans to roll out support measures of more than HK$1 billion ($127 million) for the beleaguered tourism industry, staging more than 80 “mega events” such as fireworks and drone shows in the year’s first half to lure visitors.


Chinese cities of Xian and Qingdao also joined a travel scheme allowing residents to make personal visits to Hong Kong, rather than in tour groups. The scheme took effect from March 6, taking to 51 the total of Chinese cities whose residents are eligible to apply for individual travel.

February visitor arrivals stood at four million, data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board showed. That compared with 3.83 million in January and 1.46 million in February 2023.

Mainland Chinese visitors

The number of mainland Chinese visitors rose to 3.25 million in February from January’s 2.98 million, December’s 2.94 million and 1.11 million in February 2023.

READ: As China’s economy slows, Hong Kong aims to rebuild its international image

Sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts, bought mostly by mainland tourists before the pandemic, fell 3.6 percent in February on year after 22.8 percent growth in January, data showed.

Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories grew 12.3 percent in February after an increase of 2.7 percent in January.

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($1 = 7.8286 Hong Kong dollars)

TAGS: Hong Kong, retail sales, Tourism

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