Retailing did well in 2011 and is expected to remain robust in 2012. Figures from the Census and Statistics Department this month indicated that the volume of total retail sales increased by 17.1 per cent in December 2011, compared with a year earlier.
Many factors have contributed to the strong momentum of retail business. Individual travellers from the mainland are one. In addition, many Hong Kong citizens began to receive the HK$ 6,000 from the government at the end of last year.
This definitely enhanced consumer sentiment and triggered a desire to spend, and some Hong Kong citizens have yet to receive the HK$6,000 handout. Retail business can, therefore, be expected to remain robust in the first half of 2012.
However, there are some concerns about retail business this year. The number of individual travellers from the mainland may not be as great.
Also, Chinese Vice-Premier Le Keqiang said in November 2011 that the mainland government would continue tightening its grip on the property sector in 2012.
This may cause mainlanders to have second thoughts about travelling to Hong Kong, while American and European tourists may also choose not to travel to the city.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment may be dampened a bit due to the lack of handouts in the 2012-13 budget.
Alexa Chow, managing director, Centaline Human Resources Consultants