A casual look at the many sale signs around Hong Kong’s shopping districts might lead you to think that Hong Kong shopping sales are a common occurrence, but that’s not true at all. There are three main sales seasons in Hong Kong when prices drop by as much as 50 percent: summer, Singles Day, and Chinese New Year.
Hong Kong’s most amped-up sales season takes place in the summer months between June and August. This also happens to be a great time to attend the “Summer Fun” festival, which is put on by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
During these months, sales pop up throughout the city, and shops may extend their shopping hours to 10 p.m. or even as late as midnight.
Shoppers on the prowl can find discounts of over 50 percent, particularly on end-of-season fashion items. Summer is when most fashion labels launch their autumn and winter collections, thus spurring them to slash prices on the previous season’s merchandise to clear the shelves. At Causeway Bay's Fashion Walk, for instance, local designers offer incentives to take unpopular items off their hands at seriously reduced prices.
Big-name department stores, like Shanghai Tang and Lane Crawford, also use this opportunity to lower their prices during the summer months. Some shopping malls offer dedicated vouchers that can be used in their various shops.
Singles Day Sales
In the latter part of the year, Hong Kong’s brick-and-mortar shops have become eclipsed by China's online answer to Black Friday: Singles Day. Falling annually on November 11, this is China's unofficial holiday for bachelors and bachelorettes. It's basically the opposite of Valentine's Day when single people like to go out to attend parties and speed dating events at bars.
However, Singles Day is mostly associated with the mega-sales. The holiday now spurs massive price cuts at most online outlets that spill out from beyond Hong Kong and Mainland China to the rest of the world.
Chinese New Year Sales
Although Westerners are used to the Christmas shopping crunch, holiday shopping isn't really a thing in Hong Kong. There may be some sales, but nothing compares to the discounts that can be found up to and during Chinese New Year, which occurs in late January or early February. In Hong Kong, this is the biggest shopping season of the year!
During this time you’ll see plenty of sales signs, slashed prices, and two-for-one offers. It's also worth looking out for coupons in the red lai see envelopes, which are traditionally given out by stores during the run-up to New Year. Sometimes, these can offer tremendous savings, so don't throw them out!
Where to Find Sales
Even if you arrive in Hong Kong just in time for the sales, you have to know where to go. You’ll find the biggest price drops at Hong Kong’s malls and the city’s more upscale boutiques and designer stores. Not all brands and shops will participate in the sales, so don’t feel cheated if the shop you visit declines to lower their prices.
For sales on designer luxury goods, plan to make your rounds through Central Hong Kong and the neighborhoods of SoHo and Admiralty. Start your upscale bargain hunt at Landmark Hong Kong in Central Hong Kong, Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay, and Pacific Place in Admiralty.
For mid-range goods, look in areas like Causeway Bay, Kowloon, and Tsim Sha Tsui for bargains. Malls to visit include Times Square and Sogo in Causeway Bay; Moko Plaza and Langham Place in Kowloon; and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Price drops will not be found in places where prices are already quite low, or where the margins are thin, to begin with. That means markets in Hong Kong and mom and pop stores will probably not be offering major discounts during the sales season. However, bargaining is encouraged at any time of the year. Most shops expect you to bargain, so prices are usually inflated anyway.
If you can't make it to Hong Kong during either of these sales seasons, consider visiting one of the city’s many outlet malls. You'll find designer labels, as well as homegrown names selling off last year's stock at knockdown prices. Most are clothing shops, which also sell shoes and accessories.
Alternatively, spring for the high-speed train to Shenzhen. For electronics and local clothing, the mainland Chinese city across the Hong Kong border offers much lower prices. In less than an hour, you can be in Shenzhen loading up on better deals.