Greenpeace calls on the public to pursue a more sustainable shopping lifestyle

Greenpeace today release a report based on a survey comparing Hong Kong and Taiwan consumer behaviour and attitudes. The survey debunks the myth that “shopping buys you happiness”, with a significant proportion of shoppers said that once the excitement of shopping had worn off they felt even hollower. Greenpeace urges Hong Kong public to reflect on their shopping habits and consumer mentality, in order to pursue a more sustainable shopping lifestyle.

Greenpeace campaigner Bonnie Tang said, ‘Shopping is not the road to real happiness and inner peace. Hong Kong people wish to gain happiness and self-confidence via shopping, but when the short-term satisfaction is gone, all you can get is an over drafted credit card, a closet full of unwanted clothes, and an even emptier feeling.’

The study, which is conducted by an independent global market research company TNS commissioned by Greenpeace , found that on average each Hongkonger spend close to HK$10,000 every year on clothing; giving a conservative estimate of HK$25 billion a year spent in total on clothing in Hong Kong. However, 60% of those surveyed in Hong Kong said that the feelings of satisfaction and excitement they get from shopping are gone within a day. 40% of respondents said they could only resist the urge to shopping within a week before they have to shop again. This creates a vicious circle where they splurge, control themselves and then go shopping again. Greenpeace suggests that the public should  re-examine and reflect on their shopping habits, taking the opportunity of spring cleaning, and in the New Year start a new sustainable lifestyle to the benefit of the environment and their wallet .

This study surveyed 2,000 people born in the 1970s through the 1990s in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The results revealed that Hongkongers are more addicted to shopping than people from Taiwan and demonstrated less control in their shopping urges. Some 40% of respondents in Hong Kong said they could only resist the urge to go shopping for clothes for less than a week; 30% said they spend 1 to 3 hours a day shopping online; 80% said they had engaged in shopping online while they were at work or at school. In Taiwan, only 15% of respondents said they went shopping for clothes more than once a month, 22% said they couldn’t resist the urge to go clothes shopping for more than a week; while close to half said they could hold off shopping for clothes for more than a month.

The survey debunks the myth that “shopping buys you happiness”; as many as 85% of people believe that wearing nice clothes will make you feel more confident, more than half of the respondents said they look at shopping as a way to relieve stress and kill time, and that they were easily seduced into buying things by marketing strategies such as sales and celebrity promotions. Another 63% said that social media could trigger their desire to shop. Although close to 80% said they felt satisfied and excited after shopping, 60% said they believed that these feelings vanished in less than a day. Some 35% said that once the excitement had worn off they felt even emptier.