Shenzhen tourists are increasingly seeking daily necessities and food when they shop in Hong Kong, according to a survey carried out in the city across the border.
They are also making more frequent visits, the survey indicates. The Shenzhen Franchise Association in November polled 2,999 of the city's residents, of whom 24 per cent said they had visited Hong Kong specifically to shop.
Of these, almost 60 per cent said they bought household necessities, compared with just over 32 per cent in 2011. The number of people buying food more than doubled from 14.6 per cent to just under 40 per cent.
"Compared with 2011, the percentage of clothing and shoes Shenzhen residents bought [last year] did not change much," the association said.
"But the proportion of daily necessities and food has increased significantly. It can be attributed to the appreciation of the yuan."
Just slightly more than 28 per cent of the shoppers - 3 percentage points more than in 2011 - travelled to the city at least once a month.
Daily necessities and food now rank first and fourth among the most sought-after items.
Clothing and cosmetic products rank second and third on the list - 56 per cent and 51.7 per cent of shoppers bought the goods respectively.
From January to November last year, the per capita spending of Shenzhen shoppers in Hong Kong was 6,381.20 yuan (HK$7,876), the association said.
Those with a Shenzhen household registration, or hukou, spent more than those staying temporarily in the city.
Those who live in Nanshan district spent the most, followed by Futian and Lo Wu.
The results follow growing tensions between Hongkongers and mainlanders, especially in Sheung Shui.
Hongkongers say there is a flood of parallel-goods traders who, they claim, have disrupted the neighbourhood and triggered inflation. Milk formula and cultured milk products are the favourite picks of the traders, who buy goods for resale at higher prices in Shenzhen.
In the beginning of 2011, the city was hit with an acute shortage of milk formula as mainland visitors snapped up the diary products. The situation improved after milk formula manufacturers pledged to increase supply. Three brands offered to deliver products to the homes of parents who could not find milk formula in Hong Kong stores.