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Hong Kong Luxury Sales Skyrocket as Visitors Return

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LEAH MEIROVICH • 02-04-2023

Hong Kong retail sales hit their highest level in more than three years in February as tourism picked up following the municipality’s reopening.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts surged 129% year on year to HKD 5.01 billion ($637.8 million), the highest total for any month since January 2020, according to data the government’s Census and Statistics Department released Friday. Retail sales across all product categories climbed 31% to HKD 33.11 billion ($4.22 billion).

The strength reflected improvement in consumer sentiment, as well as a favorable comparison with the same period last year, when Hong Kong was still under tight Covid-19 restrictions and visitors to the country were almost nonexistent. Tourists who come to the municipality to purchase goods contribute a large portion of Hong Kong’s luxury revenue. The border with China reopened in January, while the mask mandate ended last month.

For the first two months of 2023, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts jumped 63% year on year to HKD 9.43 billion ($1.2 billion). Total retail sales for January and February combined grew 17% to HKD 69.29 billion ($8.83 billion).

In February, 1.5 million visitors arrived in Hong Kong, compared to only 2,626 in the same month of the previous year. Of those, 1.1 million came from the mainland, versus 1,809 in 2022. “The value of total retail sales surged in February over a year earlier alongside continued improvement in consumer sentiment and the sharp rebound in visitor arrivals,” a government spokesperson said. “The low base of comparison last year also contributed. Looking ahead, the retail sector will continue to benefit from the recovery of private consumption and inbound tourism.”

Image: The Kowloon shopping district in Hong Kong. (Shutterstock)

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