Hong Kong tops the charts in unhealthy shopping habits, says Greenpeace

By staff writer, with additional reporting by Ben Pang

A new Greenpeace study shows satisfaction from shopping only lasts a day, and the more we shop, the lonelier we get

By staff writer, with additional reporting by Ben Pang |

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Breaking: Hongkongers are materialistic.

Hongkongers have some of the unhealthiest shopping habits in the world, a new Greenpeace survey revealed. We ranked first or second in 10 out of 12 indicators that show we spend too much on material goods, and have an unhealthy reliance on shopping. The non-profit group surveyed more than 5,000 people in Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan, Italy and Germany to look at their consumption habits.

Hong Kong topped the charts in a number of areas, such as people who admitted they own more clothes than they need, and people who have tried to hide their spending sprees.The survey found that 53 per cent of 1,000 Hongkongers polled owned clothes that they had never worn, compared to 51 per cent on the mainland, 46 per cent in Italy, 41 per cent in Germany and 40 per cent in Taiwan.

“It’s nothing new that Hongkongers are addicted to shopping, but we didn’t think that Hong Kong would rank as one of the tops in the world,” Greenpeace campaigner Bonnie Tang Man-lam said.

While the survey did not touch on why Hongkongers scored so high, Tang said the city’s values and way of life centred on consumerism. “Most Hongkongers said their feelings of satisfaction from shopping only lasted a day, and they would then shop again just to fill that empty void. The more they shop, the lonelier they get.”

But Young Post junior reporter Serena Tam, 16, from Hong Kong International School, disagrees. “This comes from a high level of stress from work or study,” she says. “Shopping is a good way to relieve pressure and improve our moods. I don’t think it makes us lonelier.”

But Creative Secondary School student Jack Lee, also 16, believes it is unhealthy when people buy more than they need. “For instance, if you have 10 pairs of sport shoes, think about when you’ll have time to wear all of them,” Jack says.