Provisional statistics of retail sales for December 2011 and for the whole year of 2011
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (February 2).

     The value of total retail sales in December 2011, provisionally estimated at $43.0 billion, increased by 23.4% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 17.1% in December 2011 compared with a year earlier.  The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.

     The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in November 2011, at $33.4 billion, increased by 23.4% over November 2010, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 16.9%.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing December 2011 with December 2010, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 163.3%.  This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+45.4% in volume); commodities in department stores (+18.7%); wearing apparel (+17.0%); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+15.9%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+13.2%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+11.8%); commodities in supermarkets (+5.8%); fuels (+4.6%); and furniture and fixtures (+4.6%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased by 2.3% in December 2011 compared with a year earlier.

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 2.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the preceding quarter.

     For 2011 as a whole, the value of total retail sales was $405.7 billion, increased by 24.8% in value and 18.4% in volume over 2010.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing the whole year of 2011 with 2010, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 103.6%.  This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+39.5% in volume); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+32.1%); wearing apparel (+19.4%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+18.3%); commodities in department stores (+16.1%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+15.9%); motor vehicles and parts (+7.5%); furniture and fixtures (+5.4%); commodities in supermarkets (+5.1%); and fuels (+1.9%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased by 4.5% in 2011 compared with a year earlier.

     These retail sales statistics are primarily intended to measure the sales receipts in respect of goods sold by local retail establishments, for gauging the short-term business performance of the local retail sector.  They cover consumer spending on goods but not on services.  Moreover, they include spending on goods by visitors in Hong Kong but not by Hong Kong residents outside Hong Kong.  Hence they should not be regarded as a comprehensive indicator of 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.  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 domestically or abroad.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman noted that retail sales remained robust in December 2011, showing notable year-on-year increases across a wide range of retail outlets.  Indeed, retail sales maintained strong momentum throughout 2011, on the back of buoyant local consumption demand and tourist spending.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, the improved income conditions should continue to augur well for the retail business in the near term, with the prevailing strength of inbound tourism rendering additional support.  Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor how the mounting external uncertainties will affect the local economy and consumer sentiment down the road.

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 November 2011 and the provisional figures for December 2011.  Year-on-year changes for the whole year of 2011 are also shown.  The value index is compiled with the average monthly value index of retail sales from October 2009 to September 2010 taken as 100.

     Table 2 presents the revised figures on volume index of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for November 2011 and the provisional figures for December 2011.  Year-on-year changes for the whole year of 2011 are also shown.  The volume index is compiled with the average monthly volume index of retail sales from October 2009 to September 2010 taken as 100.

     Table 3 shows the movement of the 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/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/commerce_and_industry/index.jsp).

     Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Distribution Services Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel.: 2802 1258 or e-mail: mrs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, February 2, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30

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