The Essential Guide to Shopping in Hong Kong
Shopping is really what Hong Kong is all about. Admittedly, it’s not as cheap as it once was, but regardless of what many people say, it’s still a great place to find bargains that you won’t find elsewhere. That aside, there are few other places in the world where you can find the diversity of shopping experiences and product options, in such density, like Hong Kong offers.
You can find new luxury brand flagship stores, outlet stores selling last season’s lines and even stores selling used luxury fashion accessories, then you can even find locally produced equivalents. The same goes for electronics, the same goes for jewelry and on and on. Hong Kong is blessed by its manufacturing heritage and closeness to mainland factories, and with attractiveness to draw international brand stores. Adding to that you can find German-made goods, Japanese-made goods, Australian products and so on.
Having all of this in one place makes Hong Kong a shoppers dream, so much so, that many make yearly visits here for annual shopping trips.
An overview to shopping in HK
Markets – Hong Kong is renowned for its night markets and shopping streets. Ladies Market and Temple St Night Market are the most popular and there are plenty more. See our list of the top 16 Markets and Shopping Streets in Hong Kong and the Markets Category.
Malls – HK has a mix of luxury brand name malls offering high end brands such as Gucci, Prada etc, mid-priced consumer retail offering brands and department stores such as Uni-QLO, H&M etc., retail shopping malls for local consumption that are focused on daily needs, and malls that have tailored themselves to Chinese mainland visitors. See our list of the Top 20 Shopping Malls in HK plus the Mall Category.
Key Shopping areas in Hong Kong
Whilst there are shopping opportunities all across HK, the four main shopping areas are Central, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Also, see our Shopping Areas Category
In Central, you’ll find a mix of malls, retail fashion, jewelry, plus antiques. Must visit places include the malls such as The Landmark, IFC Mall which offer luxury brands and high-end retail shopping, PMQ Central for emerging designer wear, and the market lanes of Pottinger Street and Li Yuen Street. On Hollywood Road, you’ll find contemporary art and antiques, and the area known as Cat Street which is famous for curious and antiques.
You’ll find many malls and great shopping opportunities for luxury and mid-range brands. Malls include Times Square, SOGO Department Store, and Lee Gardens offer luxury brand name shopping. Hysan Place and Fashion Walk offer mid-level retail. The Island Beverley Centre and WTC more are the places for youth fashion trends and some bargain hunting.
Tsim Sha Tsui & Nathan Rd
Nathan Rd is the famous shopping street, featuring lots of shops selling beauty care, health supplements, snacks which are all snapped up by the thousands of mainland tourists. There also loads of electrical retailers for cameras plus jewelry stores and traditional medicine stores. From my experiences, and that of many others, outside of brand name retailers, there is better value found elsewhere.
Harbour City is the largest mall in TST and tacked onto it is the Ocean Centre and Gateway Arcade. In all, there are over 400 shops ranging from mid-level retail to high-end luxury.
Along the famous Canton Road, you’ll find several high-end luxury brand flagship stores including Lane Crawford, Boss, Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, BVLGARI, Gucci, Burberry, Longchamp, Miu Miu, Prada, Valentino, Fendi, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani. There’s also an Apple Superstore and H&M store here.
Here you will find Ladies Market, Sneaker Street, Fa Yuen Street Market, Goldfish Market, Flower Market, Bird Market and the nearby Temple Street Night Market in Yau Ma Tei. The streets are lined with stores, and there is also the modern Langham Place Mall offering mid-level retail in air-conditioned comfort. It’s also home to Sin Tat Plaza and Mong Kok Computer Centre for electronics hunters. On Shanghai Street Mongkok you can find all your kitchen and catering needs. It’s a must visit area.
The key HK shopping areas on a map
On the map, you will see the above mentioned key shopping areas outlined in red.
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MTR: Wan Chai – MTR Admiralty – MTR Causeway Bay – MTR Central – MTR Hong Kong – MTR Jordon – MTR Kowloon – MTR Kowloon Tong – MTR Mong Kok – MTR Mong Kok East – MTR Sham Shui Po – MTR Shatin – MTR Taikoo – MTR Teun Mun – MTR Tsim Sha Tsui – MTR Tsuen Wan – MTR Tsuen Wan West – MTR Tung Chung – MTR Tung Chung Line – MTR Yau Ma Tei
Where to stay? Check out our hand-picked lists of the top hotels in key areas here.
Nothing happens to early, most shops in HK open from around 10 am. The shops in central usually shut down earlier than other areas closing at around 7.30pm as the workers in the business district have headed home. In TST and Mong Kok, Yau Mei Tei you will find stores open a little later until around 9.30pm.
Outside of retail brand name stores, it’s a must to haggle the price on everything, it’s a very local thing to do. Even in retail stores, it such a competitive market that it’s still worth asking for a discount, a freebie, or at least when the best time to buy is. It’s a painful thing to buy on Friday and find out that a sale starts on Saturday. Use the internet to your advantage and price compare, and request for price matching. A useful site is http://www.price.com.hk and the internet in general.
Just because it’s new won’t mean its covered by warranty, and just because the store has big brand name signage and the staff are all wearing brand name logos on their clothing does not mean that they are official retailers.
A seller at the market WILL say anything to get that sale, as they well know that you are a visitor and won’t be around to cause them any hassles later on. Your warranty card should include all the item model numbers, company details, and contact, plus company stamp.
Few items will have a true international warranty where you could return it to the manufacturer in your home country for repair.
Refunds and exchanges
Doesn’t happen. Double check everything before you buy, and be 100% happy and prepared to accept all possibilities BEFORE you hand over money. This applies especially in markets, but major retailers and brand name stores will have more consumer-friendly policies. The government does provide a tourist protection scheme, and more details on consumer laws in HK can be found here: http://www.consumer.org.hk
Buy What from Where?
Fashion and Accessories
Hong Kong is one place that you should go clothes shopping, not only for high-end luxury brands but also locally made clothes and accessories. For new season designer label brands it would be hard to do better than The Landmark, Times Square, or Harbour City. For clearance luxury brands and outlet stores, Horizon Plaza which features fashion and homewares outlet stores, Citygate Outlets offers luxury and casual fashion brands, China Hong Kong City is a mall offering 20 or so outlets for mid-level fashion (such as Esprit, G2000, Miss Sixty, DKNY etc.), and Milan Station which has 3 stores offers pre-owned luxury brand bags.
Granville Road is a must visit for fashion hunters offering a mix of brand name factory outlets, South Korean and Japanese fashions and boutique stores. Fashion Walk is a popular mall offering Japanese and European mid-priced brands favored by youthful trend hunters.
For wholesale bargain hunters, the surrounds of Sham Shui Po Station offers lots of options, head to Cheung Sha Wan Road where you’ll find a mix of wholesalers, designers, fabric retailers, and tailors. You can quite often find unique pieces here and keep your eye on the racks they put out the front of the shops for clearance of individual items. Two MTR stations away from here is the Hong Kong Industrial Centre which is a wholesale center that opens to the public on Saturdays offering stalls of trending youth fashion and accessories.
Computers & Laptops
HK has long been highly regarded for buying electronics, but there are also a lot of shop owners who try to milk that reputation. And no matter what you say, they know you are a tourist and they will also try to milk that. Keep that in mind as you hunt through the markets such as Mong Kok Computer Centre, Wan Chai Computer Market, and Golden Computer Arcade. With a keen eye and due diligence, you will be rewarded with a deal that will make you happy.
Comparing electronics, especially laptops, is becoming more and more difficult with models being produced specifically for different regions with different specs making it difficult to compare apples and to apples. Your best bet is to exercise due diligence, do your research by perusing the major electronics department stores as mentioned further below and doing some online research. You may find http://price.com.hk useful for research. Also, check the manufacturer’s local websites (as in with .hk) as there may be direct from manufacturer deals that trumps all others. You can also use this knowledge as bargaining power, so, be sure to take your smartphone with you.
And be sure about what warranty coverage you get and be sure to get a receipt that qualifies for getting a warranty (has company stamp, dated, has product serial numbers, company address etc). Some brands have international warranty, but you should clarify this as to where it needs to be returned for repair in such case.
The major electronics department stores will offer an improved chance of obtaining an international warranty, and they are a great place to get your bearings on local pricing keeping in mind that they are a little more expensive due to their extra costs of business (rental, staff etc). The two major electronics department stores are Fortress & Broadway.
On another note, just because there is a big Dell sign and everyone is wearing Dell polo tops doesn’t mean it’s a Dell-owned store. For official company outlets, check the manufacturer’s website.
Smartphones and Tablets
The computer markets and retailers mentioned above also offer tablets, iPads, and phones. But if you are looking for a dedicated market then Sin Tat Plaza is where you want to take a look. The lower floor of Sin Tat Plaza (83 Argyle St, Mong Kok) is packed with stall owners selling new, used and refurbished phones and tablets. On the upper floor, you can find all kinds of accessories including cases, selfie sticks, batteries, parts etc. There are also phone repairers here too. Most stores will only offer shop warranty on items they sell.
Cameras & Lenses
Hong Kong is a great place to buy photographic gear as there are so many stores and there surely won’t be any problem finding stock of any item you desire no matter the brand.
The downsides, warranties are sometimes local only and there are STILL dodgy traders, passing off refurbed items as new, pushing last years models as current and so on, avoid these, which are predominantly in the touristy areas such as Nathan Rd.
General areas to check out are Stanley Street on Hong Kong Island which hosts a number of stores, also check out Sim City which has numerous stalls selling Chinese made accessories, pre-owned and new cameras and gear.
Stores that are continually recommended, and great places to get your bearings on the whole market, are:
Wing Shing Photo Supplies at 55-69 Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok – http://www.wingshingphoto.com
Zhao Xiang Guan at 12F, Kimberley House, 35 Kimberly St, Tsim Sha Tsui – http://www.zxg.com.hk
Tin Cheung Camera at Shop 2, Pearl Oriental House, 60 Stanley Street, Central & Shop 301, 3/F, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui – http://www.tincheungcamera.com.hk
There are many imports from mainland China available and many stores selling international luxury brands. There are also several stores selling second-hand luxury bags and many locally based craftsmen. Some suggested places to begin your journey are Lianca at 27 Staunton St., Central – http://www.liancacentral.com, Oldies Co at 28 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay – https://www.facebook.com/oldiesleather/, Mid West Vintage at Shop 58, G/F Victoria Centre, 15 Watson Road, Tin Hau – http://www.midwest-vintage.com.
Cosmetics and Beauty Care
I don’t know where to start except to say that Hong Kong is the capital of the world when it comes to such a topic. Hoards of beautiful young Chinese swarm across the border daily into Hong Kong and literally demolish the shelves of any such store. Thus the reason in hot shopping areas you’ll find beauty and cosmetic stores every 100 meters or less.
Top department stores include SASA, Bonjour, 759 Kawaiiland and Colourmix which have stores just about EVERYWHERE. 759 Kawaiiland is probably the strongest in Korean and Japanese brands while SASA and Bonjour have a huge range of popular brands coming from all regions as does Colormix. You could easily visit all of these without too much in the way of transport hassle, in Causeway Bay as an example you can leg it between them.
The stores mentioned so far are an experience, the isles are small and the stock is displayed in every nook and cranny possible, then there are the crowds. They are packed with mainland Chinese filling up their suitcases to lug back across the border and sell via their wechat friends,.A possible tip is to go during eating hours when everyone else is crowding the restaurants. The upside of these stores is that they are cheap, have a huge range, and often have small tester size bottles of high-end brands for sale.
All the malls have beauty sections which are less crowded and more spacious, and many have beauticians on site doing facials and offering advice. Of course, the prices may be a little higher. One such option would be Facesss which can be found at Harbour City and Queensway Plaza offering makeup, skincare, body & hair and fragrance brands plus facial, makeup and brow shaping services.
Another option where you can often find great specials are the personal care/chemist stores Mannings and Watsons which can also be found EVERYWHERE.
There are loads of small independent stores selling beauty products along with personal care needs and there are lots of counterfeit items, check labels for misspellings, unclear typesetting, expired dates, missing logos etc.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong?
If they are booked out or don’t take your fancy, see my other top picks for hotels and amazing value hotels and hostels near MTR stations and if you want to splurge, here are the top 5-Star hotels.