Amid Hong Kong’s retail sales slump since last year’s social unrest, statistics have not shown favor to the city’s economic conditions, owing to the lack of tourism and continued political economy divide. The Census and Statistics Department revealed the total retail sales for August 2020 declined by 13.1% year-on-year, whereby the first eight months of the year saw a 30.2% negative in sales.

The largest category affected was of food and alcoholic drinks due to the third wave’s social distancing measures and dining regulations, which in effect spurred supermarket sales by 10.8% inspiring an additional uplift of 10.1% in electrical and other consumer durable goods for stay-at-home cooking. 

Yet, retailers and landlords have shown resilience as they had become well accustomed to the inevitable waves of Coronavirus cases causing suspension in several trades. Harbour City, the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong, felt the cold absence of Mainland Chinese tourists ever since the protests and the barring of overseas visitors due to COVID restrictions. Being a hot holiday destination for many, Hong Kong saw a staggering drop of 99% in tourism, causing many tourist-dependent locations and retail stores to shutter.

Localization Done Right

To tackle this, Harbour City turned its position around, shedding its tourist reputation with a new ‘Always Rewarding’ shopping campaign targeting residing Hong Kongers. Local shopping malls have had always initiated many promotions to encourage spending, but Harbour City’s strong discount offering was so incentivizing it had drawn over 360,000 shoppers over a weekend and all 2,200 parking lots filled – a figure that is acute to the shopping ambiance of the Christmas holidays.