, Hong Kong

Retail sales drop 13.8% YoY in March

The local epidemic situation dampened consumption confidence.

Retail sales value in March fell sharply by 13.8% year-on-year (YoY), provisionally estimated at $23.8b, due to the fifth wave of the pandemic and strict social distancing measures, according to the Census and Statistics Department.

In a statement, the department said online sales accounted for 11.7% of the total retail sales value in March, provisionally estimated at $2.8b, posting a 30.9% YoY increase.

Meanwhile, the data from the department also showed that the revised estimate of the combined value of total retail sales in the first two months of 2022 was down by 4.9% YoY. The provisionally estimated retail sales value for the first quarter also declined by 7.6% compared to the same period last year.

The revised estimate of online retail sales value in January and February 2022 jumped by 39% YoY, whilst the provisionally estimated online retail sales value increased by 36.3% YoY.

The provisional estimate of the total volume of retail sales, meanwhile, declined by 16.8% YoY.

Per sector, only the value of the sale of commodities in supermarkets increased by 2.6% compared to the same period last year.

Value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified decreased by 1.9%, whilst the value of sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified declined by 4.5%, and food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco by 3.3%.

Sales value of commodities in department stores was down by 16.9%, jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts by 36.8%, medicines and cosmetics by 7.0%, wearing apparel by 39.4%, and motor vehicles and parts by 15.0%.

Fuels sales value dropped by 15.7%, furniture and fixtures by 23.7, Chinese drugs and herbs by 9.2%, books, newspapers, stationery and gifts by 17.7%, footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories by 55.4%, and optical shops by 42.8%.

A government spokesman said the local epidemic and the social distancing measures “continued to constrain people flow and dampen consumption sentiment.”

However, the spokesman said that the improved local epidemic situation and the progressive relaxation of social distancing measures, along with the distribution of the first batch of consumption vouchers in early April will support the retail sector.

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