Shopping centers, which are an integral part of the urban economy, rethink the retail approach in the absence of tourists.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, retail sales in Hong Kong in August 2020 fell by 13.1 percent year on year, with sales falling by 30.2 percent in the first eight months. Due to a drop in tourist traffic of almost 99%, which was caused by both the pandemic and political protests, many stores were forced to close.
However, many retailers and mall owners have demonstrated sufficient resilience to traffic fluctuations as they have faced several waves of restrictive measures in recent months due to new coronavirus cases. Retailers in the region have shown greater flexibility and the ability to adapt to new conditions quickly.
Harbour City, the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong, has taken into account the current situation and has adopted a course of reorientation from tourists to residents. The new particular discount program attracted more than 360,000 new customers on the first weekend of October alone, equivalent to the traffic usually seen during the Christmas holiday season. Even before such luxury and expensive stores as Chanel and Gucci, there were queues of customers.
The new Lohas mall, which has so far only completed its first phase of opening, also notes the influx of shoppers. Even though only 15% of its retail space has become available to visitors, which happened at the peak of the third wave of quarantine, Hong Kong residents still rushed to see the new mall's launch, sometimes even ignoring social distance measures.
Hong Kong and other Asian cities such as Singapore and Bangkok are known for their high-end shopping malls, an essential part of the economic structure. The current situation has shown that even without tourists' flow, malls can still rely on locals to continue their activities without losing much of their income.
The Asian region is also an example of a relatively rapid recovery in retail trade and gives hope that the crisis can be overcome globally.