Provisional statistics of retail sales for May 2018
Provisional statistics of retail sales for May 2018
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (July 3).

     The value of total retail sales in May 2018, provisionally estimated at $40.5 billion, increased by 12.9% over the same month in 2017. The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in April 2018 increased by 12.2% over a year earlier. For the first five months of 2018 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales increased by 13.7% 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 May 2018 increased by 11.6% over a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in April 2018 increased by 11.0% over a year earlier. For the first five months of 2018 taken together, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales increased by 12.2% 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 May 2018 with May 2017, the value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 23.8%. This was followed by sales of commodities in department stores (+16.7% in value); commodities in supermarkets (+2.8%); wearing apparel (+6.7%); medicines and cosmetics (+18.7%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+5.9%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+20.1%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+12.8%); motor vehicles and parts (+2.3%); fuels (+17.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+11.9%); furniture and fixtures (+4.8%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+2.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+3.9%); and optical shops (+13.9%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the provisional estimate of the value and volume of total retail sales both increased by 2.6% in the three months ending May 2018 over the preceding three-month period.

     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 continued to post double-digit growth over a year earlier in May, thanks to the sanguine local consumption sentiment and the visible increase in visitor arrivals.

     Looking ahead, the near-term outlook for retail sales business should stay positive, given the robust labour market and sustained growth in inbound tourism. The Government will monitor the situation closely, in particular how the marked increase in external uncertainties of late may affect consumption sentiment going forward.

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 April 2018 as well as the provisional figures for May 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 five 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 April 2018 as well as the provisional figures for May 2018. The provisional figures on year-on-year changes for the first five 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 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).
 
Ends/Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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