China Cross-Border Consumption Recovery Trends
Xiaoduan Zhang • 31/08/2023
As the sustained impact of the pandemic on regular business and social activities in China has gradually subsided, intercity connectivity has returned to pre-COVID norms, and this renewal of societal engagement has been accompanied by a steady recovery in cross-border travel and consumption.
At the start of the year, China’s Ministry of Commerce designated 2023 as the Year of Consumption Revitalization, and the central government introduced policies and measures to accelerate the recovery and expansion of consumption at the local level.
With these support measures in place, national domestic consumption has staged a revival, with total consumer retail sales growing by 8.2% y-o-y in the first half of 2023. In particular, Hong Kong-mainland China cross-border consumption has shown notable signs of recovery, and is now emerging as a highlight in the China retail market.
However, since the full border reopening, the post-pandemic era has seen a marked change from the prior status quo, with the number of outbound Hong Kong residents crossing the border now outnumbering mainland compatriots coming south. This reverse trend of Hongkongers heading north for leisure and shopping is generating increasing attention from both traditional media and on social channels.
Within China, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao intersection is the most popular area for cross-border consumption. Observing and analyzing the evolving retail trends in this triangle provides insights into the overall recovery of China cross-border consumption, and yields an understanding of the effectiveness of measures to promote consumption and boost demand.
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