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Provisional statistics of retail sales for August 2018
*****************************************
 

     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (October 2).

     The value of total retail sales in August 2018, provisionally estimated at $38.2 billion, increased by 9.5% over the same month in 2017. The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in July 2018 increased by 7.8% over a year earlier. For the first eight months of 2018 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales increased by 12.2% over the same period in 2017.

     After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales in August 2018 increased by 8.1% over a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in July 2018 increased by 5.9% over a year earlier. For the first eight months of 2018 taken together, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales increased by 10.6% in volume over the same period in 2017.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet in descending order of the provisional estimate of the value of sales and comparing August 2018 with August 2017, the value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 21.6%. This was followed by sales of commodities in supermarkets (+0.3% in value); commodities in department stores (+11.7%); medicines and cosmetics (+16.3%); wearing apparel (+5.7%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+6.3%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+16.1%); motor vehicles and parts (+7.5%); fuels (+10.2%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+13.6%); furniture and fixtures (+5.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+9.3%); and optical shops (+2.8%).

     On the other hand, the value of sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified decreased by 3.5% in August 2018 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-2.3% in value).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the provisional estimate of the value of total retail sales decreased by 1.6% in the three months ending August 2018 compared with the preceding three-month period, while the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales decreased by 1.9%.

     These retail sales statistics measure the sales receipts in respect of goods sold by local retail establishments and are primarily intended for gauging the short-term business performance of the local retail sector. They cover consumer spending on goods but not on services (such as those on housing, catering, medical care and health services, transport and communication, financial services, education and entertainment) which account for over 50% of the overall consumer spending. Moreover, they include spending on goods in Hong Kong by visitors but exclude spending outside Hong Kong by Hong Kong residents. Hence they should not be regarded as indicators for measuring overall consumer spending.

     Users interested in the trend of overall consumer spending should refer to the data series of private consumption expenditure (PCE), which is a major component of the Gross Domestic Product published at quarterly intervals. Compiled from a wide range of data sources, PCE covers consumer spending on both goods (including goods purchased from all channels) and services by Hong Kong residents whether locally or abroad. Please refer to the C&SD publication "Gross Domestic Product (Quarterly)" for more details.

Commentary

     A government spokesman indicated that retail sales grew notably over a year earlier in August, buttressed by the solid local consumption demand and visible growth in visitor arrivals.

     The spokesman commented further that, in the near term, favourable job and income conditions and sustained growth in inbound tourism should render support to the retail sector. The Government will closely monitor how consumer sentiment will be affected by the external headwinds in the period ahead.

Further information

     Table 1 presents the revised figures on value index and value of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for July 2018 as well as the provisional figures for August 2018. The provisional figures on the value of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet as well as the corresponding year-on-year changes for the first eight months of 2018 taken together are also shown.

     Table 2 presents the revised figures on volume index of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for July 2018 as well as the provisional figures for August 2018. The provisional figures on year-on-year changes for the first eight months of 2018 taken together are also shown.

     Table 3 shows the movements of the value and volume of total retail sales in terms of the year-on-year rate of change for a month compared with the same month in the preceding year based on the original series, and in terms of the rate of change for a three-month period compared with the preceding three-month period based on the seasonally adjusted series.

     The classification of retail establishments follows the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC) Version 2.0, which is used in various economic surveys for classifying economic units into different industry classes.

     More detailed statistics are given in the "Report on Monthly Survey of Retail Sales". Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=B1080003). Alternatively, the historical series of retail sales statistics can be downloaded in the form of a statistical table at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=D5600089).

     Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Distribution Services Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel: 3903 7400; email: mrs@censtatd.gov.hk). 

 

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