"Digital technology has transformed today’s modes of work and consumption habits, giving rise to an array of novel products, services and sales tactics, which are unfortunately accompanied with unprecedented issues and disputes. In these rapidly evolving times, the Consumer Council (the Council) strives to stay vigilant to changes in the market, and fulfil its performance pledges to safeguard consumer rights and empower them to make prudent choices.
In recent years, digital technology has made great inroads into every aspect of our everyday life. Especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, various industries underwent digital transformation that led to the mushrooming of virtual stores on various messaging and social networking platforms. As consumers are faced with a sizeable amount of consumption information and promotional messages, they require much more time to review and filter them. On the one hand, new payment methods enable speedy transactions and offer consumers a much more convenient shopping experience, but on the other hand, disputes and issues related to technology and regulations begin to increase. The Council will stay vigilant in monitoring the pulse of the market and living style of Hong Kong people in performing its duties, in order to meet all new challenges and protect consumer interest effectively.
To follow the momentum of digital transformation and online reading habits in recent years, the Council’s website and eCHOICE portal underwent a concurrent revamp. Apart from offering a brand new interface and user experience, the new website is also a treasure trove of new content. Useful information from previous issues of CHOICE, such as product tests, surveys and tips, have been re-organised and enriched as bite-sized “Trivia” and “Tips” that are and easy to read, digest and share. These new sections are available for free on the Council’s website to cater for the “instant” reading habits of the new generation, as well as to provide accurate and comprehensive consumer alerts and information that will help readers become smart consumers.
The Council has persistently progressed with the times and keenly embraces the digitalisation trend. Aside from conducting product tests and market surveys to yield practical information for households, the popular “Online Price Watch” was also launched to enable consumers compare the prices of over 2000 products from main supermarkets anywhere and anytime. The “Oil Price Watch” website and mobile application were also upgraded to allow drivers to compare the retail and discounted pump prices from different oil companies promptly.
Apart from pursuing products or services that are value for money, wise consumers in the 21st century must also bear their civic responsibilities. The Council has strongly advocated “sustainable consumption” and the nurture of responsible consumption culture. Such advocacy includes encouraging consumers to shop rationally but not wastefully, and to show care and concern for the well-being of the environment and the society at large.
Looking ahead, the Council will remain steadfast in its determination to protect consumers in the digital age and offer consumers timely and useful information through the most accessible channels to help them make wise choices.
Ms Gilly Wong Fung-han
Chief Executive, Consumer Council