The continuing protests in Hong Kong are having an adverse effect on tourism and city centre retailers and restaurants, signalling a disappointing National Day golden week holiday, but spending on food delivery has soared as people stay at home.
Food delivery apps Deliveroo and FoodPanda both reported an (unspecified) increase in order volumes between June and September of this year – with orders peaking at weekends, the time when demonstrations have been taking place.
According to Greg Hingston, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC in Hong Kong, spending by credit card customers has declined in recent months across several categories, including luxury goods, travel and dining out.
But the reverse has been the case for food delivery apps such as FoodPanda. “It’s interesting. If you look at home delivery, that’s up very significantly,” Hingston said in remarks reported by the South China Morning Post.
“People still need to eat, still need to go to the supermarket,” he pointed out. “The usual utilitarian type categories all hold up; it’s the more discretionary categories you see the reduction in.”
The Post warned of “a perfect storm” for the Hong Kong economy, as the protests and the US-China trade war combine to hit tourist traffic during the National Day ‘golden week’ holiday starting today.
Up to 800 million people are expected to go on trips in China or overseas – 10% more than last year – but many of them are avoiding Hong Kong. Just 15 group tours are scheduled daily for the city, compared to 110 this time last year.
The manager of one retail travel agency in Beijing recently told Bloomberg: “There has not been a single inquiry about travelling to Hong Kong in the past two months.”
Hotels are slashing prices in an attempt to bolster low occupancy rates, while restaurants are running promotions to attract diners; on some estimates, sales of luxury goods could fall between 50-60% this week.
Sourced from South China Morning Post, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff