Hong Kong retail sales hit their highest level in over three years in March as the number of tourists visiting the country rose.
Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts skyrocketed 165% year on year to HKD 5.07 billion ($646 million), the highest monthly total since January 2020, according to data the government’s Census and Statistics Department released Thursday. Retail sales across all product categories jumped 41% to HKD 33.56 billion ($4.27 billion).
The growth was the result of an improvement in spending by local consumers as well as a resurgence in the number of visitors entering the municipality. It also reflected a favorable comparison with the same period last year, when Hong Kong was still under strict Covid-19 restrictions and tourism to the country was almost nonexistent. Visitors who come to Hong Kong to purchase goods comprise a large portion of Hong Kong’s luxury revenue. The municipality’s border with China was reopened in January.
For the first three months of the year, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts surged 88% year on year to HKD 14.5 billion ($1.85 billion). Total retail sales for the January-to-March period climbed 24% to HKD 102.85 billion ($13.1 billion).
In March, 2.5 million visitors arrived in Hong Kong, compared to only 1,800 in the same month of the previous year. The figure was also nearly double the number of tourists who came in February. Of those who traveled there in March, 2 million were from the mainland, versus 997 in 2022.
“The value of total retail sales surged further in March over a year earlier as consumer and visitor spending continued to improve, though the low base of comparison also contributed,” a government spokesperson said. “Looking ahead, the recovery of inbound tourism and private consumption should continue to benefit the retail sector. The disbursement of a new round of consumption vouchers will render further support.”
Image: A tourist at the Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong. (Shutterstock)