HK$5,000 consumption voucher not enough

Mrs. Chan, a 55-year-old housewife, revealed that she was splurging around HK$100,000 on two gold bracelets and a diamond ring at a local jewelry store.

“We have the consumption vouchers today, so I can use it for this transaction,” she said.

Fay Sze, who is the branch manager at the store, commented that offering vouchers would certainly generate more business, though it was still too early to measure the exact impact.

“We are seeing a lot more customers, there will also be some tourists or people using consumption vouchers coming out to buy things or browse. We can see that it is bustling,” she said.

Steven Chung, age 28, was at an electronics store in the mall and made a purchase of a Dyson fan which was around HK$ 5,000.

“I have always wanted to purchase this, but the price has made me hesitant as it was expensive. With the consumption voucher, I now have the determination to buy it, as it feels like it has become much cheaper,” he said.

Michael Keung, the senior retail manager at the store, commented that the sales were similar to what they had seen before, with the vouchers. He observed that customers were taking a different approach than last year and were buying more cameras and electronic beauty products instead of computer hardware and home appliances.

“Everyone was at home … people could not go outside to eat and they were cooking at home. More televisions, refrigerators and air conditioners were bought,” Keung said. “As these are fairly durable products, we can see that this year customers are buying products related to travel or they need beauty products as we no longer need to wear masks.”

He declared that the firm was expecting a 20-30% climb in sales due to the vouchers and promotions from malls and credit card companies. According to him, compared to a regular weekend, sales and customers at his shop had surged between 50-100%. 

Gary Ng Cheuk-yan, a senior economist for Asia-Pacific at Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, conceded that the vouchers could benefit the economy but implied that Chan’s 0.6% growth forecast may be “too optimistic.” 

“Compared with previous rounds of the consumption voucher scheme, this round may not be able to bring such a huge boost to the economy as Hong Kong is now facing a high inflation rate,” Ng said.

“After the border reopening, the public may choose to save up money and spend that during overseas trips, while simply spending the vouchers in Hong Kong.”

Seniors who had returned their Octopus card and registered for the vouchers after getting their JoyYou pass were asked to update their personal info for the scheme.

JoyYou is a type of Octopus card specifically designed for people over 65. Chan reported that 30,000 people in this group had finished updating their records, but 1,500 still haven’t done it yet.

- Published By Team Hongkong Journalist

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