Hong Kong’s take on being healthy


Image: Standard Chartered, 2016

With the Summer Olympics coming up in Rio, it’s hard to not notice the number of sporting retail outlets popping up around where I am living, Hong Kong.

According to a newspaper article last Monday by the South China Morning post, “Hongkonger are becoming more health conscious and buying more sporting goods” (Ge, 2016).  From my own experience walking about Hong Kong, I am seeing more people being health conscious, going out being active, exercising, eating healthy food.  With that, also noticed them being quite trendy, wearing new sneakers, bright clothing and having the latest wearable sports gadgets.

But wait! It wasn’t long ago that Hong Kong residents were regarded as the most unhealthy lifestyle, mainly due to poor work-life balance and poor food choices such as instant noodles.  However they are very consumer orientated. In 2012, it was up to staggering HK$445,498 million in retail sales (Cheung, 2012).  They are also quick to follow trends in clothing, a recent study in the Clothing Industry in Hong Kong found that there is a both demand for fashionable garments as well as functional clothing Anti-UV, good sweat management, thermal insulation.

Lets take a closer look

Weather it’s the need created by their own,  Marketers certainly have played a role in understanding Customer behavior and making being fit and healthy ‘as a new trend’, turning that into opportunity for product purchases. Here we explore three Marketing Management theories on Consumer Behavior that are used by Hong Kong Marketers.

Three Phases of Purchases Theory


In Marketing Management, there is a known Customer behavior that predicts Customers undergo three phases when making a purchase (Iacobucci 2013, pg 13).

Phase 1 – Prepurchase Customers start with a need for a something to have. This can be quite fundamental such as food/water or abstract-based as per Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory (Iacobucci , pg 20) the latter can be strongly influenced by current lifestyle, social environment and marketers. After identifying the need, customers will search, review and compare for a solution to satisfy the need which can be a form of a product or service.

Phase 2 – Purchase: Once a product solution is identified, Customers then begin to short list the purchase options. This can be comparing different product offerings, evaluating pro and cons, to the point that they are comfortable with a particular brand, model and price.  After that, its how to purchase it, deciding which particular shop to visit or if it can done via online website channel.

Phase 3 – Post-purchase: Once the product is purchase, customers undergo self-evaluation to check if the particular purchase has satisfied their initial need. If this is met successfully, then there is open  opportunities for future purchases through repeated sales and word-of-mouth referrals.

In Hong Kong, we see  sporting events such as Marathons or Dragon Boat, creating a need for residents to participate. Then, thoughts of wanting a healthier lifestyle or having something new to wear while doing exercise comes into mind.


Thousands jammed into Stanley Main Beach for the Stanley International Dragon Boat Championship 2015. 20JUN15

Image: Tsang, 2016

Marketers support their need with advertising, billboards are littered with them.  Shopping is very easy in Hong Kong, as sports brands have set up large attractive looking shops, inviting Customers to make purchases. It is also relatively cheap, buying a name brand shoes cost less than $30 AUD, without Tax.

After the purchase there is great satisfaction. In this example , publishing happiness in online social media such as Facebook is very common.


Image: Yi, 2016

Perception Marketing Science Theory

It is known in Marketing Science that there are many ways to influence Customer behavior towards making purchases.  One aspect is how we take advantage of human perception, focusing on sight, sounds, taste, smell and touch (Iacobucci 2013, pg 16).

Hong Kong’s perception of being sporty or having functional garments has never been a strong point. Marketeers have realized this and combined fashion imagery into their sports brand line up.  In this example below, we see the Adidas store d2r store lined up with fashionable sporting items. Its not surprising to see high heel sneakers and sporting tops designed by international designers such as Stella McCartney.


Image: Swire Resources 2016

Cultural Difference Theory

Another aspect is Cultural differences. Marketers carefully study particular trends or cultural behaviors for each market regions, and create product variations to fit that difference and take advantage of (Iacobucci 2013, pg 22).

In Asia, Chinese New Year period is the busiest shopping season of the year.  It is traditional to give something new, and wear something in red color. For a city with millions of people, being unique is quite hard. Thus product managers have come up with ‘Limited Editions’ to create the uniqueness and marketers branded it as seasonal gift, a result such as “Adidas Original Tubular Chinese New Year Packs” is available to buy in season!


Image: Adidas, 2016

In closing

Hong Kong residents take on being healthy are most likely come with a purchase.  Marketers almost guarantee that, with well thought-out system of channeling consumers to buy. This is achieved through understanding purchase theory, customer perceptions and knowing the specific cultural differences.

When it comes to being healthy, Hong Kong culture of shopping has it covered!

Posted by Justin Wong 215296673 (jgwong)


Cheung, C (2013). Changing Landscape of Hong Kong’s Retail Sales, Retrieved on 2 August 2016,http://www.statistics.gov.hk/wsc/CPS003-P4-S.pdf

2016, Run For A Reason, photograph, National Library of Australia, retrieved 2 August 2016, http://www.hkmarathon.com/About_Us/RUN_FOR_A_REASON.htm

Yi, M 2016, YOHIIT @ LULULEMON IFC YOGABRATION, photograph, Facebook, retrieved 2 August 2016, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154071208120379&set=a.412226285378.207425.581205378&type=3&theater

2016, adidas Originals Tubular Chinese New Year Pack, photograph, Adidas New Stream, retrieved 2 August 2016, http://news.adidas.com/us/Latest-News/adidas-Originals-Tubular-Chinese-New-Year-Pack/s/c24a0c91-65d0-4e3f-925f-f40d4f0f3071

Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4 Marketing Management, 6th Edition, Cengage Learning, Mason USA.

Swire Resources 2016, d2r Shop, retrieved 3 August 2016, http://www.swire-resources.com/brand/d2r/

Ge, C. 2016, ‘Sportswear boom fuels demand for prime retail space in Hong Kong shopping’ districts’, South China Morning Post, 31 July, retrieved 2 August 2016, http://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/1997375/sportswear-boom-fuels-demand-prime-retail-space-hong-kong

Tsang, S 2015, Stanley International Dragon Boat 2015, photograph, South China Morning Post, retrieved 2 August 2016, http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/1824049/paddlers-feel-heat-hong-kong-celebrates-dragon


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