Hong Kong Cautious Amid Sluggish Sales
Hong Kong-based retail sales of jewelry and other hard-luxury items were far below pre-pandemic levels in April as tourism remained stagnant.
Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts came to HKD 2.63 billion ($338.6 million) for the month, well short of April 2019’s total of HKD 5.86 billion ($747.8 million), the municipality’s Census and Statistics department reported Tuesday.
“As inbound tourism will likely take time to recover amid the evolving global pandemic, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging,” a government spokesperson explained. “It is essential for the community to actively participate in the Covid-19 vaccination program so as to create favorable conditions for a more visible revival of the retail trade and other consumer-facing activities.”
Revenue for the same category rose 93% year on year in April, while sales across all retail sectors jumped 12% to HKD 27.01 billion ($3.48 billion). However, the growth was due to an extremely low base of comparison in 2020, when businesses closed and tourism stopped due to the coronavirus, a government spokesperson said.
In the first four months of the year, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts climbed 30% versus 2020 to HKD 12.31 billion ($1.59 billion). Sales in all retail categories advanced 9% to HKD 116.72 billion ($15.04 billion) but fell 30% from the same period of 2019.
Tourism to Hong Kong remained at a standstill during the first four months of 2021, with the overall number of visitors falling 99% year on year to 22,444. The sector has seen some improvement as Hong Kong eases border restrictions: The number of tourists to the municipality rose 38% in April to 5,706.