For some, shopping is neither a passion nor a need… It’s an addiction. And like any addiction, it is harmful: it attacks the wallet in particular. So watch out for yours because in Hong Kong, the climate seems conducive to this addiction.

Indeed, the island has some of the most unhealthy shopping habits in the world according to a study published earlier this year by Greenpeace.

Based on a sample of 5,000 interviewees, the survey studied consumer habits in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy and Germany. And Hong Kong flies over the fray with China following! Of the 12 indicators in the survey, Hong Kong ranks first in 10 of them, clearly indicating its tendency to overspend on material goods and even its addiction to shopping.

HK$10,000 in annual clothing expenses

Hong Kongers, for example, are the most likely to admit that they own more clothes than they need and that they have already tried to hide their expenses. Clothes still labeled because they’ve never been put on in the closet? More than half of the 1,000 Hong Kongers surveyed have them. Immediate satisfaction after purchase but which fades quickly and therefore needs to be renewed regularly? This is exactly how many islanders feel after a purchase. The very definition of addiction, so they do it again.

But how much are they spending? At the start of 2017, another study by the Greenpeace* association on the same subject evaluated the annual clothing expenditure of Hong Kongers at 10,000 HK$ and an overall turnover of the sector of around 25,000,000,000 HK$ per year. Other statistics are not lacking in eloquence: 30% of interviewees admit to spending one to three hours a day shopping online. And after a shopping session in store, 40% of interviewees will return to the store after a week because they will not have managed to stay away any longer. The shopping sirens are too tempting.

If the studies give only few leads on the reason for this excess consumption, the question nevertheless arises. First of all, spending is a way to decompress, to release stress. On the island, professional pressure is particularly strong, it is common to work more than 50 hours a week and success is an obsession… Thus, to compensate for the pressure, Hong Kongers have made consumption a value, a way of life , according to Bonnie Tang, an activist at Greenpeace. But since the feeling of satisfaction linked to the purchase is only ephemeral, even by buying regularly, they end up feeling a feeling of emptiness… It seems like a vicious circle. “I must have about forty pairs of shoes but I don’t use half of them […] I like shopping. I work and travel a lot, so

So is this addiction to shopping a trait restricted to Hong Kong citizens or do expats also take the fold from living in the city? Shopping, in any case, would not make you happy explained Bonnie Tang to the SCMP… But didn’t we already know that.

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