Thursday, 24 January 2013

Shopping Frenzy Continues

A massive line the length of the IFC Apple store waiting for the cashier
This is a picture of the Apple Store in IFC in Central at around 9.20am today. As you can see, there is a massive line up for the cashier that runs the length of the store. At 9.20am.

As far as we know there is not particular sale going on, no new gadgets being released.

All we can surmise is that it's probably mainlanders buying gifts for Chinese New Year.

So there are those who are getting presents to impress others or hopefully gain favours for later, and then there are others trying to get low-end ones too.

We are reading in the papers that shops, particularly in Mongkok are being flooded with mainland shoppers stocking up for the Year of the Snake.

There were long lineups in front of several PrizeMart stores -- a chain known for its bargain prices. And what were they buying? Boxes of chocolates, candies and other snacks -- by the dozens.

"It's cheaper to buy in Hong Kong as the currency is weak. It's like having a 30 percent discount on every item," a visitor from Guangzhou said. "Goods we buy here in Hong Kong are also of a better quality, so they're better [than goods bought on the mainland] to give away as gifts."

The woman said her family had bought 20 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and five tins of Kjeldsens butter cookies from a PrizeMart in Mongkok.

TWENTY boxes of Ferrero Rocher.

I usually bring back a four of five boxes of chocolate from Canada to pass out to friends and colleagues, but 20?

And mainlanders aren't just buying up sweets, but also basic goods too like milk powder. Apparently most of the overseas name brand ones are already sold out, and the stores that had a few tins left were charging almost double the suggested retail price of HK$238.

One Watsons staff member said the formula brands were sold out almost immediately after they were put on the shelves.

Apparently the milk formula companies have increased their production, with one called Friso claiming it has already doubled its milk powder supply this month compared to the same time last year. But it seems it's not enough.

Hong Kong is experiencing another locust invasion because of the run-up to the lunar new year.

But it also seems an increasing number of mainlanders are coming here from Shenzhen to make more frequent trips to buy more daily necessities and food.

While we appreciate mainlanders propping up Hong Kong's economy in the short term, the rest of us are left struggling to meet our basic needs.

How much longer Hong Kong people can withstand this is hard to say, but those who live near the border are very close to the breaking point.

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