News Centre

4 Feb 2020

Survey Findings on Public Opinion of Local Consumption Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK

4 Feb 2020

The local consumer market has recently been battered by the US-China trade war and the anti-extradition bill movement that began in mid-2019. It is facing further headwinds from the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus at the beginning of 2020. To gauge public views on the situation of the local consumer market, the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a telephone survey from 16 to 22 January 2020. It was found that 40.5% of the respondents predicted the local consumer market in the coming year will have a downturn; 49.5% of the respondents would not concern about the political stance of the shops and 72.7% of the respondents objected protests against particular shops.

Major findings are summarised as follows:

To predict the prospect of the local consumer market in the coming year, 40.5% of the respondents were pessimistic, while 35.2% thought it would be as same as now, only 15.6% were optimistic. Among the public concerns to the impact from a weakening consumer market, 58.0% of the respondents concerned about a strike to local economic growth, 72.5% of the respondents concerned the rise of unemployment rate, but only 35.0% concerned an impact to household income.

In addition to considering future prospects, a retrospective look at the consumer market’s current situation compared to January 2019 was asked. This indicated 71.6% of the respondents felt a downturn in the current consumer market, while 23.3% did not see any difference. In terms of personal consumption, 55.4% of the respondents did not respond any change in their spending compared with that of January 2019, while 31.1% had spent less. However, personal consumption had not shifted to online shopping in the second half of 2019. About half (49.4%) of the respondents indicated that they did online shopping as frequently as in January 2019, while 21.0% indicated less frequently. Only 17.5% indicated more frequent online shopping.

The anti-extradition bill movement has sparked boycotts against particular shops or restaurants based on their political stance, the so-called “Yellow/Blue Economies”. In the midst of consumption based on the political labelling of shops, 49.5% of the respondents would not concern about a shop’s political affiliation when shopping there, while 38.5% indicated that they would concern about it. The anti-extradition bill movement also saw protests against particular shops. Of all respondents, a total of 75.4% objected to such protests based on a shops’ political stance, including 48.0% who “objected but forgave them”, 24.7% who “objected and liked to have them punished”, and 2.7% who “objected but did not like to have them punished”, or “objected and unforgiven”. Only 11.2% of the respondents approved of such protests against shops and restaurants based on political stance.

About two thirds (67.1%) of the respondents deemed that social conflict set their desire back to shop in Hong Kong, while 29.9% did not.

In estimating the trajectory of the anti-extradition bill movement, 37.2% of the respondents thought the movement would persist for twelve months or more; 18.6% thought it would last between six months and eleven months; 9.0% suggested between three and five months, while 7.0% reckoned two or less months. Over a quarter (28.2%) of the respondents did not know or felt it too difficult to predict how long the movement would persist.

In this survey, a total of 704 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 37.5%. The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 3.96 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.