Hong Kong: Retail sales growth moderates in December, but remains robust
Retail sales volumes grew 4.3% in annual terms in December, decelerating from the revised 7.0% jump—a 33-month-high—recorded in November (previously reported: +6.9% year-on-year). Robust employment and income dynamics, coupled with improving inbound tourism, were behind December’s robust reading.
Sales performance was mixed across outlet types. Annual sales growth at outlets of consumer durable goods and other consumer goods remained strong in the month, despite decelerating from November. Notably, year-on-year sales growth of luxury items—whose sales are typically tied to inbound tourism from mainland China—moderated somewhat in December, despite the influx of visitors. Meanwhile, supermarkets and fuel outlets recorded larger drops in annual sales from November, while non-supermarket food and beverage sales swung into contraction in the month.
For the full-year 2017, growth in retail sales rebounded after three years of consecutive declines, climbing to 1.9% from a 7.1% contraction in 2016.
A government spokesperson noted that:
“Retail sales increased solidly in December 2017 over a year earlier, reflecting the upbeat consumption sentiment amid favorable employment and income conditions. The continued revival of inbound tourism also helped.”