2015 has seen a decline in the value of retail sales by 3.1% in the year to November. Besides the slowdown in inbound mainland tourists and a concerted effort to crackdown on bribery, the increased downside risks to economic outlook and recent stock market corrections have resulted in more cautious local consumption sentiment.

luxury, retail & consumer H1 2016 market outlook

However it’s not all doom and gloom for the retail sector. According to Boston Consulting Group, online luxury sales are projected to grow 20-25% over next 5 years, compared to only 3-4% for the luxury industry as a whole.

While the sales momentum of up market goods remain slow, mass market sales should continue to have more resistance and we see a trend of fashion sportswear and mid level fashion brands penetrate the Hong Kong SAR market with store expansion plans for 2016.

Licensees and outsourced distribution channels are increasingly being brought in-house which will result in increased operating cost efficiencies and overall revenue.

Luxury houses such as Kering are championing sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes which will increase consumer sentiment as the world’s appetite for ethical and environmentally sound products grow. Luxury houses are now employing candidates with different skill sets to combat a lackluster sales environment by engaging individuals sometimes outside of the luxury industry who have a strong VIP network, a good understanding of CRM topped with a world class customer service background and an excellent sales track record.

Besides e-commerce and online digital marketing candidates, the increase in cyber attacks has also resulted in an upswing of recruitment for talent in the online security space.

Operational candidates with regional exposure will also be in demand as more companies centralize shared services in Hong Kong SAR and bring outsourced distribution channels in house.

As a result of these macro changes, the types of talent that are in demand have slightly shifted and a more strategic approach towards talent mapping and sourcing are required to be ahead of the curve. It is imperative for companies to identify key areas of workforce growth and skills scarcity early and continuously work on their employer brand to ensure they are constantly attracting the highest caliber candidates in the market.