Hong Kong consumers expected to spend less on shopping this holiday season

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2012, 5:08pm

Retailers anticipating big sales this holiday season should instead expect “conservative spending”, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the Hong Kong Research Association (HKRA) about holiday spending habits of Hong Kong consumers this year.

The survey, which polled 1,077 respondents, found that although just over half those polled planned to keep expenditures level this Christmas, about 17 per cent planned to tighten their belts, a slight one per cent increase from the year before.

Average spending by consumers will be below the HK$1,000 mark this Christmas, with about one quarter of respondents setting their budget within the range of HK$500 to HK$1,000 and 21 per cent planning to spend no more than HK$500. The number of consumers planning to “not spend at all” rose two per cent year on year to 17 per cent.

With overall expenditure down, spending on others did not fare too well either. One-third of respondents admitted they were “most likely not” buying gifts for others this year. This was five per cent more than the year before. Only 16 per cent of respondents said they were “most definitely” going to buy gifts. Shopping was the top spending category for only 15 per cent of respondents.

Most money this holiday season will instead be spent on meals, with 28 per cent expecting to fork out more cash on food and drink. This is largely due to tradition, as family dinners are popular festive activities in Hong Kong, but also due to rising food prices.

Travel only comprised 14 per cent of Hong Kong Christmas budgets this year. About half of those that will go abroad will end up in mainland China, although inbound tourism to China still saw a drop of six per cent year on year. Other popular holiday regions include Japan and South Korea (which combined experienced a six per cent decrease year on year) and Southeast Asia (which saw an eight per cent rise).

While Christmas consumption looks set to drop this year, the survey did reveal some rather heartwarming bright spots. About 60 per cent plan to spend Christmas with family this year, a three per cent increase from the year before. Fewer people will be spending the holidays with friends and lovers.