The value of total retail sales in February, provisionally estimated at $33.1 billion, rose 31.3% compared with the same month in 2022, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.
After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 29.6% year-on-year.
Of the total retail sales value in February, online sales accounted for 7.8%. Provisionally estimated at $2.6 billion, the value of online retail sales dropped 4.1% compared with a year earlier.
Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said consumer spending in the local market normally attains a seasonal high before the festival.
As the Lunar New Year fell on January 22 this year but on February 1 last year, it is more appropriate to analyse the retail sales figures for January and February taken together in making year-on-year comparison, it added.
The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 62.6% in the first two months of 2023 compared with a year earlier.
This was followed by sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (+13.7% in value); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods not elsewhere classified (+11.4%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+0.1%); wearing apparel (+47.4%); commodities in department stores (+10.4%); medicines and cosmetics (+22.4%); motor vehicles and parts (+49.3%); fuels (+14.1%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+40.4%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+51.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+45.2%); and optical shops (+53.2%).
On the other hand, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets dropped 13.5% for the period, followed by sales of furniture and fixtures (-8.5%).
The Government said the value of total retail sales surged in February over a year earlier alongside the continued improvement in consumer sentiment and the sharp rebound in visitor arrivals.The low base of comparison last year also contributed to the surge.
Taking the first two months of 2023 together to remove the possible distortion caused by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, the value of retail sales rose 17.3% year-on-year.
Looking ahead, The Government noted that the retail sector performance will continue to benefit from the recovery of private consumption and inbound tourism.