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Friday, 29 December 2017, 18:00 HKT/SGT

Source: HKTDC
Healthy Christmas Sales Growth Seen in Hong Kong's Export Markets
Solid Performance Indicates Positive Outlook for 2018

HONG KONG, Dec 29, 2017 - (ACN Newswire) - Retail business in Hong Kong's export markets is expected to grow in the coming year, according to a worldwide study of year-end sales released today by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). The HKTDC report on preliminary 2017 Christmas sales in Hong Kong's key export destinations - including both traditional and emerging markets - found that solid growth was observed in the United States, Germany and Japan as well as the Chinese mainland, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Brazil.

The level of Christmas sales in Hong Kong's major exports markets serves as a barometer of the economic health of individual countries and trading blocs.

"The positive retail sales growth witnessed towards the end of 2017 suggests that the traditional markets are now on track for growth, while the emerging economies are also picking up speed," HKTDC Principal Economist (Greater China) Billy Wong said. "Overall, the global retail market enjoyed healthy festive growth over its traditionally busiest period. The growth momentum of the global consumer market is likely to be maintained in 2018."

The study also found that consumer electronics were among the most popular items, and that online retail sales grew faster than overall retail sales in many major markets. "The ubiquity of omnichannel purchasing opportunities will continue to transform the global retail industry, resulting in both new challenges and new opportunities for Hong Kong exporters. With the global economy taking a clear upturn, though, there has never been a better time for Hong Kong exporters to review their strengths and weaknesses as they look to maintain their overall competitiveness," said Mr Wong.

Highlights of the report

- The US economy is expected to maintain its growth momentum in 2018.
- The National Retail Federation forecasted US retail sales for the holiday season to grow 3.6-4 per cent over last year, while Mastercard estimated a 4.9 per cent increase, the largest year-on-year rise in six years.
- According to the National Retail Federation, online and other non-store sales in November grew 10.5 per cent year-on-year.
- Cyber Monday 2017 -- which is the online equivalent to Black Friday and fell on 27 November this year -- was the biggest day for online shopping in US history, with record online sales of US$6.59 billion, up 16.8 per cent from last year, according to Adobe Analytics.
- Data from Mastercard SpendingPulse showed that the level of online retail shopping jumped 18.1 per cent during the holiday season.
- Clothing again topped the US Christmas shopping list this year. Consumer electronics products were also gaining popularity, with shoppers shifting their focus to smart-home devices.

- The prospects for many European countries seem positive.
- Retail sales in Germany over the Christmas period are estimated to have risen three per cent to a record EUR 94.5 billion, according to the German Retail Federation.
- In France, December 2017 proved to be a record month for credit and debit card transactions.
- Brexit remains a major concern in the United Kingdom, although the conclusion of the first phase of the European Union divorce talks in mid-December may have provided a degree of damage limitation and proved a boon to the retail sector ahead of the holiday season.
- UK retail sales edged up 1.6 per cent in volume and 4.7 per cent in value in November from a year earlier, boosted by Black Friday promotions, after a 0.3 per cent decline in October, the first fall since 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.
- UK online sales grew 10.2 per cent year-on-year in November, contributing 17 per cent to total retail spending, up from 16.1 per cent in November 2016.
- For Europe as a whole, electrical and household electronic appliances, such as smart TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets, were among the biggest contributors to overall sales. Video games and other entertainment electronics items were also popular among European shoppers.

- In Japan, the economy seems set for only moderate economic growth, even given the likely boost stemming from Tokyo's successful bid to stage the 2020 Olympics. In terms of the country's retail sector, the consumption tax hike proposed for 2019 may see a surge in luxury product purchases in 2018 as shoppers bid to buy before the new levy is imposed.
- November saw the highest level of consumer confidence since September 2013.
- Consumer electronics and electrical household appliances were top sellers during the Christmas season, while entertainment electronics were also popular.

Chinese mainland
- Although Christmas is not officially observed in the country, many consumers have a pronounced inclination to shop as the year-end approaches.
- For 2017 as a whole, total retail sales are likely to have maintained a double-digit growth, with an increase of 10.3 per cent for the first 11 months.
- Record sales on Singles' Day - the annual November 11 event held to celebrate the single life - marked a brisk start to the holiday shopping season. Black Friday is also gaining traction as one of China's major retail events, a development that has been driven by the rise in cross-border e-commerce.
- Smartphones were bestsellers over the holiday season, following by electrical household appliances. Clothing also enjoyed steady sales growth.

Other emerging markets
- Emerging European countries - especially Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic - are likely to have performed well over the Christmas season with the gradual recovery of developed European markets.
- Christmas sales in Latin America were mixed. In Brazil, sales are estimated to have increased some 5.2 per cent. However, Mexican and Chilean consumers are believed to have been more moderate when it comes to their 2017 Christmas expenditure, a consequence of the lacklustre performance of the two countries' economies.

Link to the full report: http://bit.ly/2E7NZ4S


The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong's trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

Communications and Public Affairs Department
Carrie Lee
Tel: +852 2584 4238
Email: [email protected]

Source: HKTDC

Topic: Press release summary
Sectors: Retail/eCommerce, Daily News, Local, Local Business
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