RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong retail sales to dip 5% in 2019: PwC

Consumer experience is key to combat sales slump as tourist arrivals slow.

The protracted decline in Hong Kong's retail sector is expected to extend into the coming months as sales are tipped to fall 5% to $460b by end-2019, down from an earlier forecast of a 3% decline, according to PwC.

A projected decrease in tourist arrivals and spending, lack of new tourist attractions, temporary closure of the Peak Tram and recent social unrest will continue to drag retail sales for the second half of the year, according to a report by global auditing and advisory firm PwC.

Also read: Chinese tourists prefer Australia and Singapore over Hong Kong: survey

The first four months of 2019 saw retail sales fall by 2%, with electrical and luxury goods suffering the biggest decline.

Retailers from Hong Kong and mainland China are advised to intensify their focus on customer experience in order to maintain competitiveness by providing a more personalised, shopping experience through employing innovative retail strategies such as “retailtainment” and “coopetition.”

Also read: Omnichannel may just be Hong Kong retail's saving grace

PwC also emphasised the importance of using emerging technologies, such as AR and VR, to appeal to the new generation of tech-savvy shoppers.

Also read: Hong Kong opens doors to first unmanned shops

In China, retail sales growth fell to a 15-year low of 9%, signalling sluggish demand amongst Chinese consumers. Retailers have turned to technology and are strengthening digitisation along the retail value chain through smart supply chain management enabled by technology and big data.

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