Hong Kong retail sales show 1.9% increase in February 2024

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3rd April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of Hong Kong has released the latest data on retail sales, revealing that the value of total retail sales in February 2024 reached approximately $33.8 billion, representing a provisional increase of 1.9% compared to the same month in 2023. The revised estimate for January 2024 indicated a 0.9% increase in the value of total retail sales compared to the previous year. When considering the combined total for the first two months of 2024, there was a provisional growth of 1.4% in the value of total retail sales compared to the same period in 2023.

Online sales accounted for 6.9% of the total retail sales value in February 2024. The provisional estimate for online retail sales in that month amounted to around $2.3 billion, reflecting a decrease of 9.9% compared to February 2023. The revised estimate for online retail sales in January 2024 showed a significant decline of 21.2% year-on-year. Overall, the value of online retail sales for the first two months of 2024 was provisionally estimated to have decreased by 15.9% compared to the same period in 2023.

After adjusting for price changes, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales in February 2024 indicated a 0.5% increase compared to the previous year. However, the revised estimate for January 2024 showed a 1.2% decrease in the volume of total retail sales compared to the previous year. When considering the combined total for the first two months of 2024, the provisional estimate indicated a 0.4% decrease in the volume of total retail sales compared to the same period in 2023.

It is important to note that retail sales in the first two months of the year often exhibit greater volatility due to the timing of the Lunar New Year. Consumer spending typically peaks before the festival. As the Lunar New Year fell on 10th February this year but on 22nd January last year, it is more appropriate to analyze the retail sales figures for January and February together to make a year-on-year comparison.

Analysing the broad types of retail outlets in descending order of value, sales of jewellery, watches, clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 8.8% in value for the combined total of January and February 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. Other categories that experienced growth include sales of other consumer goods, wearing apparel, medicines and cosmetics, books, newspapers, stationery, and gifts, and furniture and fixtures. However, sales of electrical goods, commodities in department stores, motor vehicles and parts, fuels, Chinese drugs and herbs, and optical shops declined during the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year.