Shoppers lining outsider Hermes store in Hong Kong (pic: file image)

Shoppers lining outsider Hermes store in Hong Kong (pic: file image)

Hong Kong is losing its allure as a shopping paradise to deep-pocketed mainland tourists living in Greater Bay Area.

In a latest survey released by consulting firm McKinsey & Co., only about a third of affluent shoppers living in Greater Bay Area said they have plans to visit Hong Kong this year, and 10-15% of these tourists will slash their spendings in the city in favor of duty-free Hainan or gambling city Macau.  

The results are collected from over 3000 middle- and upper-class residents living in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in February.

Only 1155 respondents said they have plans to visit Hong Kong and 85% of them said the purpose of the trip is for shopping and sightseeing. The tourists expect to spend RMB 36,400 (US$5224) on average when visiting Hong Kong, with almost half going toward luxury products, including leather goods, watches and jewellery.

Deep-pocketed mainland tourists are also an important source of fine wine sales for Hong Kong’s retail wine market when many will buy tax-free, high-end bottles from luxury supermarkets, wine shops back to the mainland.

Hong Kong (pic: file image)
Hong Kong (pic: file image)

But what’s worrying is that about two thirds of respondents have no plans to visit Hong Kong in the next 12 months and within the willing one third travellers, 10-15% said they would slash their spendings in the city in favour of duty-free Hainan, Macau or overseas buying channel for luxury shopping.

Other than luxury shopping, travellers are also looking for a broader range of services from Hong Kong such as financial services and healthcare.

In order to attract mainland tourists, McKinsey believes that merchants in Hong Kong need to improve digitalization and service quality, otherwise the city risks losing its shopping paradise title.

Mainland tourists, the biggest source of tourist arrivals to Hong Kong, have been declining in numbers in recent years. Since 2019, Hong Kong’s anti-government protests have deterred Chinese and international tourists, the ensuing global pandemic in 2020 effectively shut out mainland tourists.

There are however signs to be optimistic. On February 6, after nearly three years of border closure, Hong Kong fully re-opened with mainland China without covid restrictions, and in the month alone 1.1 million mainland tourists have visited the city.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: