Survey Findings on Views about Hong Kong Economic Situation and Prospects Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
A telephone survey was conducted from 16 to 26 April 2021 by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to gauge public views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the current economic situation and prospects of Hong Kong. Through the survey, 706 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with response rates of 30.2% (landline) and 31.6% (mobile). The sampling error is plus or minus 3.69 percentage points, at a confidence level of 95%.
Major findings are summarised as follows:
Of the respondents successfully interviewed, 38.1% saw a reduction of their households’ income because of the pandemic, more than half of the respondents (53.9%) did not see any change. When asked about any fear for themselves or their family members of being laid off during the pandemic, 40.8% of the respondents were very worried or worried, while 46.8% were not worried or not worried at all.
Around half of the respondents (49.0%) deemed the current economic situation to be worse than that of last April. Over a third of the respondents (37.1%) did not see much change. Only 10.2% of them deemed it to be improving. Two fifths of the respondents (39.8%) perceived the current consumer market worse than that of last April. Over a third (37.8%) did not see much difference, while 15.1% perceived it as improving. Comparing their current personal spending to that of April last year, 34.0% of the respondents had cut their spending; 50.8% spent about the same, while 10.3% spent more.
A quarter of the respondents (25.9%) were optimistic about the prospects of the local economy in the forthcoming 12 months, while 21.1% were pessimistic and 44.5% did not expect any change. In terms of household income in the forthcoming 12 months under the pandemic, over half of the respondents (52.2%) were very worried or worried, while 38.2% were not worried or not worried at all.
Two fifths of the respondents (39.9%) reckoned that an increasing vaccination rate in Hong Kong would help the local economy to recover, but 42.1% thought the help would be small or very small.
The survey has kept track of changes in respondents’ views on the development of the local pandemic. Of the respondents successfully interviewed, 41.4% estimated that the local pandemic might ease in the coming month. 8.4% estimated it would worsen, while 46.3% felt it would be about the same. The percentage distribution of views was not significantly different from the last survey conducted in March 2021.
Less than a fifth of the respondents (18.7%) believed the current countermeasures by the government should be tightened, and 41.0% would like them to remain the same. A third of the respondents (33.1%) preferred a relaxation of the current countermeasures. The overall percentage distribution of views regarding lockdown strategies had not significantly changed from the last survey in March 2021.
Nearly a half of the respondents (47.3%) were not worried about being infected by COVID-19, 40.3% were somewhat worried, 7.9% were quite worried, and 2.6% were very worried. The percentage distribution of the level of worry was not significantly different from the last survey in March 2021.
Two thirds of the respondents (67.7%) were quite worried or very worried about an oncoming recession of the local economy, while 25.4% were not worried or were not worried at all. However, the percentage distribution of views was not significantly different from the last survey in March 2021.