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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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7 in 10 elderly lament Hong Kong's insufficient product range

Insurance and travel were amongst the industries with poor satisfaction rates.

Seven in 10 (71.7%) elderly consumers lamented Hong Kong’s insufficient choice of goods and services for their demographic even as their numbers continue to grow steadily, according to a survey by the Hong Kong Consumer Council.

As the post-war baby boomers join the ranks of the elderly with their educational attainment and high levels of personal income, the consumption power of the elderly and soon-to-be elderly grows as they account for a larger portion of the consumer pie.

However, the level of service appears to be ill commensurate to the growing spending power of this demographic as around 38.7% reported unpleasant experience in consumption in the past year with 28.9% of incidents related to unfair trade practices.

Insurance, travel and elderly home design services were amongst the industries with satisfaction rates under 30%. Additionally, the top three complaint categories lodged by elderly consumers were in the telecommunication services (23.6%), electrical appliances (11.2%) and travel (6.5%).

“In the case of the telecom services, for instance, the typical problems identified were: sales promotion of products unsuitable for use by the elderly, lack of notification on the part of the trader prior to contract renewal, poor customer service and behavior of retail staff, resulting in unpleasant experiences to the ageing consumers,” the report noted.

On the other hand, public transportation, banking and medical services were ranked favourably by elderly consumers.

“The challenge of ageing population presents, at the same time, both risk and opportunity,” the council added. “However, if all stakeholders including the Government and business anticipate the challenge and collaborate closely towards building an age-friendly consumption environment, it could turn the risk into an opportunity for a better future.”

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